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Over the past couple of years, we’ve been encouraging the City of Castlegar to amend some of its bylaws to permit the growing of crops, allowing hens for eggs and we’ve even requested that miniature goats be considered for weed control, fertilizer production and even milking. Very little progress has been made on any of these fronts, it is still illegal to grow crops in residential areas, chickens caused a flutter of concern from those who feel strongly about it and council dropped the idea like a rotten egg. Goats are so far outside the reality of Castlegar’s ability to understand agriculture and sustainability that we wonder if anyone has actually even experienced the companionship and usefulness of a goat or two!

Down in LA though, it seems that there are moves afoot to remove some of the restrictions on the growing of crops for use on-site or sale off-site…

Homegrown Evolution: The Food and Flowers Freedom Act

On July 8th, 2009, Council President Eric Garcetti introduced a motion to explore allowing “the cultivation of flowers, fruits, nuts or vegetables defined as the product of any tree, vine or plant, and that these products be allowed for use on-site or sale off-site.”

A group known as Urban Farming Advocates – Los Angeles, has named this motion the Food & Flowers Freedom Act. We’re asking for your support so that City Hall will change the law quickly and let L.A. become a leading center for urban farmers.

[ad#125-right]Allowing this in the Kootenay region makes a lot of sense – the number of gardens that are used to grow food is increasing, and people like Nelson Urban Acres are using urban backyards to grow food for markets such as the Cottonwood Market on Saturdays in Nelson. Under the current zoning bylaw, this would be illegal in Castlegar – that’s right, the growing of food in backyards is illegal.

Published by Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada.