Starting next week San Francisco will be the first city in the country to offer a financial incentive to property owners that pursue urban farming on their empty lots. For allowing their vacant land to be used for agriculture, property owners can save thousands of dollars in property taxes each year.
Urban Farming Financial Incentive
Source: Zephyr Market Tracker
The Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act is a state law spearheaded by local advocates of sustainable land-use and state Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco. Both commercial and educational farms are covered under the new Act – and even farms housing some livestock (zoning permitting). Community farming has grown in popularity in the City with long waitlists for individuals who want to pitch in and farm. This new legislation will offer more opportunity for individuals to grow together. Additionally, empty lots can frequently become a magnet for garbage and illegal dumping. Farming in these spaces will change that.
It takes time to develop a fertile growing space, both literally and figuratively! So in addition to the tax break, the new legislation requires that the five year contract for the farm stays with it, even if the property is sold (however, it should be noted that an owner can excuse themselves and get out of it by paying back taxes and interest). That way the effort and money put into establishing a project isn’t swept away immediately should the property change hands.
Other cities in California are hopeful to move forward with the incentives as well, but as of next week San Francisco will be the first to get it going; our Board of Supervisors has already passed the necessary local ordinanc