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Urban Farming and Zoning Bylaws

Earlier this year, I suggested that the City of Castlegar look into changing the zoning bylaw, which prohibits the growing of crops in residential areas. The feedback I got from a number of people was that I was overstating the law, or questioning whether the law would ever be enforced.

badseed.jpgI believe that a law not enforced is not worth having, or more appropriately, it should not be applied in a discretionary manner. Last week an article in the Kansas City Star caught my attention – (HT to City Farmer). This article describes the trials of an Urban Farm called “Bad Seed Farm” in Kansas City.

But their dream of growing food in the city is growing a controversy, too.A few neighbors want the city to yank out their business by its roots. Not near our backyards, say some, who fear their homes will be devalued by the small farm’s presence on Bannister Road, just east of the State Line.

The city says the couple is violating zoning laws.

Source: ‘Bad Seed’ urban farm is a labor of love – Kansas City Star

Interestingly, the zoning bylaw actually allows them to be growing this food, though they acknowledge that the goats were a stretch of the rules..

“It allows for the use of agriculture, nurseries and truck gardening for the propagation and cultivation only of plants,” she says.

Source: ‘Bad Seed’ urban farm is a labor of love – Kansas City Star

The issue with zoning bylaw in Castlegar came to my attention last year when our family was investigating the SPIN Farming method of production. Our formal letter to the City listed out fourteen initiatives that would immediately improve the sustainability of Castlegar, looking toward a transition in food production and changing energy usage.

Check out the Bad Seed Farm website here.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.