News Sacramento County

New Ordinance Expands Neighborhood Farming

In a much-anticipated move to bring urban agriculture to the unincorporated County, the Board of Supervisors today approved a new ordinance that will expand urban agriculture. The ordinance will become effective in 30 days.

Urban agriculture is defined as the raising of crops and animals in the urban environment, including growing crops, raising animals (such as egg-laying chickens), bee keeping, and selling the goods grown or produced.
“Current zoning ordinances did not adequately provide for these kinds of activities and pursuits,” said District 5 Supervisor and Board Chair Don Nottoli. “The zoning changes will help increase the availability and access to fresh foods and produce in our neighborhoods and communities.”
About two years ago, the Sacramento Urban Agriculture Coalition (SUAC), a group of urban farmers and non-profit organizations, brought a proposal to the County for an urban agriculture policy. To create an ordinance that would meet the needs of Sacramento County, staff consulted with SUAC, the Sacramento Area Beekeeping Association, community members and County departments and presented drafts to the Community Planning Advisory Councils. The final ordinance was designed with the unique needs of the County neighborhoods in mind.
Key Points of the Ordinance: 
  • Permits market gardens, or small farms, on vacant parcels in urban and suburban neighborhoods to grow produce for sale.
  • Allows urban agricultural stands under 120 sq. feet in area with a temporary use permit, and over 120 sq. feet in an area with conditional use permit, to sell produce, eggs, honey and other goods on the site of a private, market or community garden.
  • Allows for the raising of a limited number of egg laying chickens and ducks on parcels less than 10,000 square feet in area in all zones incidental to a permitted residential use.
  • Allows for the keeping of a limited number of beehives incidental to a permitted residential or commercial use.
“This is an important step in Sacramento County’s ability to get more fresh foods and produce to every neighborhood, particularly those in food deserts,” said District 2 Supervisor Patrick Kennedy. “Small urban operations are a win-win proposition – they are a wonderful way for neighborhoods to come together, build relationships, and improve the overall health of the community.”
“Urban agriculture supports healthy living, fosters community collaboration and provides economic opportunities on vacant and underutilized land,” said District 1 Supervisor Phil Serna. “There has been a lot of work in finalizing this ordinance, and with its passage I’m hoping residents will take advantage of it.”
Residents can confirm if their property is in the unincorporated area of Sacramento by entering their address or parcel number on the Sacramento County Online Map.​
Contact Info: Chris Pahule, Community Development, (916) 874-4447

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