Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Urban Ag in Chicago: Nourishing or Just More Regulation?

Any time the city gets officially involved...well, let's just say it wouldn't be my first choice.

What, for example, would it mean for this lovely, low suggestion-of-a-fence that Bruce built for his community garden? Would it be high enough? Strong enough? Safe enough?

Hey! I don't think it goes all the way around.

More city guys with clipboards. Yikes.


Homegrown Evolution said...

Damn. More clipboards, less food! Hopefully you will be able to get these new ordinances changed. My experience helping change some of the regs here in LA was positive. Everyone eats food, so it doesn't look too good for a politician to be arguing against healthy, local produce.

H2 said...

Let's hope they don't fence us in too much while claiming to support healthy local produce, Homegrown. Your cynical friend, H2.

Bruce said...

This story raises a lot of questions.

How can a lame duck Mayor propose, and apparently expect to enact, a series of changes to zoning regulations that almost every longtime urban farming group in Chicago says is a bad idea? Too, notice how the reporter labels critics of the proposed ordinance "some people" as part of the he said, she said dynamic.

Well, no.

Who are these functionaries who are proposing these regulations? I'd like to know who would benefit from the proposed rules. Why not spell that out in the story? Clearly people like Ken Dunn, Will Allen's Growing Power, and Martha Boyd's Angelic Organics aren't seeing any benefit in this. And as Ken Dunn said, the City has done this twice before, saying "trust us, we know it's flawed legislation, but we'll work out the kinks after the fact" and then doing nothing of the kind.

Finally, I wonder if the horde of foodies who were freaking out at one woman's frozen fruit purees being destroyed a few months ago will get their asses in gear for this much more serious problem. Given that there are no comments under the original article, it doesn't look good.

Bruce said...

Forgot to add that this story solidifies my feeling that Ben Helphand (of NeighborSpace) is a useless tool.

mmpaints said...

ROFL, accept the city's word they will iron out wrinkles later??? yah, right. That means they'll figure out how to bilk as much money in permits, imagined violations they'll charge us all with etc and make it impossible for us to feed ourselves clean, healthy food. This is government control at it's finest!

Daley needs to blow the LIBERAL cobwebs out of his brain (if he even has one) and wake the heck up before he finds himself poisoned(cancer or worse) by the commercial food he is protecting so vigorously.

H2 said...

Exactly, mmpaints--it'll be permit and code violations from one edge of the garden to the other.

Thanks for the cogent analysis, Bruce. You said it better than I could have.

And let's remember: this is a city that can't even cobble together a comprehensive recycling program.