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Backyard Farmers Ask City to Free the Fruits, Nuts, and Flowers

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Today the Associated Press checks out relationships between urban farms and city zoning, and they've noticed that "In middle-class areas, concerns about property values and aesthetic differences lead to conflicts." That's apparently what happened in Silver Lake, where Tara Kolla's neighbors objected to her half-acre Silver Lake Farms (and accompanying compost pile), with the backing of the 1946 Truck Gardening Ordinance, which allows residential vegetable growing for sale off-site, but prohibits the same for fruits, nuts, and flowers. Her neighbor told the AP, "When she started having these gardening workshops without telling anybody, there was no parking. You couldn't enjoy your weekends." Last year Building & Safety shut down her flower sales. SLF now operates as a CSA, but instead of paying $15,000 to apply for a conditional use permit, Kolla's working with the LA group Urban Farming Advocates to get the zoning law changed. Last July, Councilmember Eric Garcetti introduced a motion the UFA calls the Food and Flowers Freedom Act, that lets fruits, nuts, and flowers back into the fold, with the rationale that urban farming is good for the environment, health, and jobs. The Planning and Land Use Management Committee asked the City Attorney and the Planning Commission for reports on the motion back in October, and for those we wait. Meanwhile, Kolla points out that broccoli is a flower and tells the AP, "It's more legal for people to grow marijuana in L.A. than flowers." Or sell them, anyway.
· Urban farmers fight nationwide to sow green biz [AP]