Rec and Park to Lead SF Urban Agriculture

By Christian Watjen
Christian Watjen
Christian Watjen
June 20, 2013 Updated: June 20, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO—In response to a growing interest in community gardening and urban farms in the city, an urban agriculture program was launched half a year ago. Now Recreations and Parks has been chosen as the lead agency to oversee the project.

A resolution introduced Tuesday at the full Board of Supervisors by President David Chiu will ratify the recommendations by the city administrator.

For the first time, a full-time staff member will be tasked with coordinating and driving edible growing around the city. Funding of $120,000 from last year’s budget will be transferred to this year’s budget for the position.

With a department and staff member leading the efforts, “finally we’ll be able to move forward with a cohesive and organized urban agriculture strategy for the city,” Chiu said Tuesday.

Rec and Park was chosen as the key department because it has the properties—administering more than 220 parks and open spaces in the city—and the funding to move projects along. Additionally, the department is experienced in partnering with community groups and nonprofits, according to the city administrator.

Since 2011, food production, both for personal consumption and sale, has been allowed in San Francisco. While urban farms and gardens have been increasingly springing up around the city, food production has been largely uncoordinated, with more than seven agencies having say in the matter. 

The urban agriculture program strives to create a “one-stop-shop” for new projects and to assist communities and businesses with resources and tools. The ordinance, which went into effect this January and was authored by Chiu, requires 10 new locations for projects to be completed by July 2014.