Creating Social Value Blog / Food

Historic Day for Boston Local Food and Farm Business

This morning at Boston City Hall, by a unanimous vote, the Zoning Commission passed Article 89, which will to pave the way for more commercial farms and innovative food ventures in Boston.

Edith Murnane of the Mayor’s Office of Food Initiatives and Tad Reed and Marie Mercurio of Boston Redevelopment Authority led the presentation and during public comment, ten citizens, local leaders, and business people stood to speak in support of Article 89. (No one stood against.)

“Urban agriculture is currently forbidden because it’s not addressed in the zoning code,” BRA senior planner Tad Reed explained.

Article 89 concerns commercial agriculture only.  It does not influence community garden regulations or other private gardens. Its focus areas include ground-level farming, open air roof-level farming, rooftop greenhouses, aquaculture, aquaponics, hydroponics, on-site composting, soil safety measures, and the keeping of hens and bees.

Now passed by the Zoning Commission, Article 89 will go to Mayor Menino’s desk for signature. Considering that the Mayor requested this initiative in the first place, prospects look good.

This is a huge day for Boston, which now joins the ranks of urban-agriculture progressive cities like New York, Portland, Chicago and Madison.

As community leader Bruce Bickerstaff put it, “not as a novelty but as a legitimate business proposition in a burgeoning industry.”

Indeed, Bright Farms in New York and Lufa Farms in Montreal have both expressed interest in growing in Boston.

Article 89