This year, Openlands worked with urban farmers and state legislators to create the new Urban Agricultural Areas program. This program extends many incentives to urban farmers that farmers in rural areas already enjoy, such as property tax incentives, reduced utility rates, and legal protection from conflicting zoning regulations.
Urban farming is a great example of nature-friendly economic development. Urban farming regenerates city soils, which are often compacted and polluted, into fertile and productive places to grow food and enjoy the outdoors. Urban farms are also a growing source of employment that offer job training opportunities and specialized skills that will always be in demand.
Another critical role of urban farms and gardens are their production of healthy, local food in neighborhoods that do not have grocery stores. They help to meet the nutritional needs of residents who might otherwise go without fresh fruits and vegetables.
For all these reasons, Openlands has been a long-time supporter of urban farms and gardens. It is therefore concerning and disheartening to us that the Governor vetoed key parts of this important bill.
We are asking you to help us overturn this veto by reaching out to your state legislators and requesting their support to vote once again in favor of HB3418 this November.