The following items are from “Green Talks: Sustainability e-news”
While some communities may be disgruntled about front yard gardens, others are paving the way for urban farming. The Seattle City Council recently approved an urban farming bill that will allow urban farms of up to 4,000 sq. ft. in residential zones and grants them the ability to sell the food grown on site. As well, greenhouses dedicated to food production can extend 15 ft. above height limits in certain zones. The legislation also allows residents to keep up to eight chickens per household.
California Assembles Sustainable Ag Panel
The California Department of Food and Agriculture plans to pay closer attention to sustainable agriculture issues. Ag Secretary A.G. Kawamura recently announced the formation of a five-member scientific advisory panel on environmental farming that will advise state agencies on sustainable agriculture. The Scientific Panel on Environmental Farming will review and recommend data concerning the impact agriculture has on the environment, and they will make recommendations to appropriate state agencies.
One other interesting task of the panel is that they will be charged with documenting agricultural activities that produce net benefits for the environment and ecosystems.
NSAC Lobbies for Research
On the national level, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is pushing its own agenda. They recently urged the USDA to support a number of measures related to the USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a large competitive grant research program administered by the agency.
NSAC recommendations included a plea for more integrated research, education and extension projects and for more sustainable systems projects. Their resolution also called for a return to a fully competitive program. In 2010, the majority of AFRI funds were available only to universities and not to non-government organizations, research agencies, or individual researchers. For more, visit the NIFA website, and NSAC website.