Somerville’s Board of Aldermen has adopted what the city is touting as the first urban agricultural ordinance in the state.
Left: Carmelo Arria, 84, has been growing tomatoes in his yard outside Union Square since the 1950s. Next
The measure, coupled with new regulations adopted by the Board of Health, established formal rules for farming in the city, including the cultivation of produce for sale, and the keeping of chickens and honey bees.
The City Hall Demonstration garden (left) is located at the entrance of Somerville's civic offices on Highland Ave. Next
“It really grew out of a desire to encourage urban agriculture, to encourage healthy local food consumption and a local food network in Somerville,” said Luisa Oliveira, the city’s senior planner for landscape design.
Sarah Spicer (left), Somerville's Senior Transportation Planner, and Steven Azar, Senior Economic Development Planner, strike a pose after tending to the City Hall Garden on their lunch hour. Next
The city has devoted a section of its web site to the initiative that includes “The ABC’s of Urban Agriculture,” a detailed summary of the new ordinance and health regulations, related state regulations, and recommendations on farming practices.
Left: The Somerville Mobile Market brings fresh produce to underserved neighborhoods in Somerville. Next
Residents can now sell their crops, including at farm stands, but to do so, they must have their soil tested each year for lead and other contaminants, and post the results.
Left: The South Street Farm, built by volunteers in a "farm raising" event in May of 2012, is the City's first urban farm. This season, the farm's herbs have been sold through the Mobile Market. Next
The urban agriculture initiative is itself linked to Shape Up Somerville, a nine-year-old effort to promote healthy lifestyles in the city with a focus on ending childhood obesity.
Somerville resident Khrysti Smyth (left), known as "The Chickeness of Somerville," teaches her "Urban Chicken Keeping 101" class to City Hall employees and members of the team working on the urban agriculture ordinance. Pictured with her is her Chicken, Fleur, and summer intern Emily Monea of Harvard's Kennedy School. Back to the beginning
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