ARTICLE: San Diego Reader
City Council Unanimously in Favor of Urban Agriculture Amendments
“Today was a landmark day for local agriculturalists as the City Council voted unanimously in favor of amendments to the municipal code which simplify the process for approving farmers’ markets on private property, make minor adjustments to community garden regulations, and ease restrictions for keeping chickens, goats, and bees.
In an affable session marked by laughter and applause, the Council heard from several supporting speakers ranging from Hoover High School geographic information system students to members of the San Diego Beekeeping Society, the San Diego County Farm Bureau, the Goat Justice League, Food Not Bombs, the International Rescue Committee, New Roots Community Farm, the San Diego Hunger Coalition, the One In Ten Coalition, as well as 55 written supporters who did not speak at the meeting.
The amendments follow a $50,000 grant awarded to the City of San Diego in March to pursue municipal code and general plan amendments supporting urban agriculture with the goal of stunting obesity rates by planning communities in ways that support increased physical activity and access to healthy foods…
In the first municipal code revision on beekeeping since 1977, the practice is now allowed in single family zones with a single family dwelling, community gardens, and retail farms…
“The benefits of bee keeping are fresh natural honey, natural sweetener, and increase in the docile domesticated honeybee population,” said Joyce.
“San Diego has had European honeybees since 1869,” said Eric Robinson of the 450 member strong San Diego Beekeeping Society. “They were brought here by John Harbison. Beekeeping was a large part of the San Diego economy as we exported boxes of honey back to the East Coast and Chicago. John died a millionaire… The bee keeping industry in California represents about $5 billion worth of agriculture. Every third bite of food is something that pollination by bees was involved in the process.”
Other statements of support for the amendments included the need to cultivate domesticated bees to counteract the plummeting bee population due to the enigmatic “colony collapse disorder”, the prospect of carbon emission reduction by eating locally grown produce, and, according to lifelong San Diego resident Oliver E. Owen III, 71, the simple enjoyment of “great critters. They relax you. Your blood pressure goes down, you don’t drink as much. And they have personalities. I’m here strictly to support this thing on the basis of camaraderie of animals. That’s all.”
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