Coalition Report

By Melissa Vatterot
Food & Farm Coordinator
Missouri Coalition
for the Environment

<h3>Urban Agriculture Policy Efforts are Moving Through City Hall in St. Louis</h3>

You may recall that last summer the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, convened by MCE, sought your input on urban agriculture activities in St. Louis. You responded and we listened! We heard from over 800 residents in every ward of the city and learned that there was broad support for urban agriculture. For example, 63% of respondents are in favor of changing the city code to allow for more chickens and rabbits to be kept and raised in the city. 77% of respondents would like to see the city make it easier to acquire land for food production. And most excitingly, 97% of respondents supported using vacant lots in their neighborhood for urban agriculture activities.

Since the survey, we used the feedback to work with elected officials and city departments to develop policies that facilitate the types of activities respondents supported.

For example, many respondents expressed interest in being able to sell homegrown products from their community garden or home.

After sharing these results with the city’s Building Commissioner Frank Oswald and assisting with research and writing of policy language, Mr. Oswald issued a policy memo on June 9, 2017 allowing for the sale of eggs, produce, and honey from home gardens, community gardens, and urban farms! The policy sets up restrictions as to what time of day, how many times a year, and at what size of stand residents can sell their homegrown products.

Additionally, the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition worked with Alderwoman Cara Spencer and Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia to introduce Board Bill 52 that will increase the number of chickens and rabbits allowed on a city parcel. Overwhelmingly, respondents of our survey stated that they would prefer chickens and rabbits to be regulated based on the amount space available to them as opposed to a hard cap on the number of animals allowed. Therefore, this bill establishes a minimum spatial requirement per chicken or rabbit of 2 square feet of indoor space (such as inside a coop) and four square feet of outdoor space (such as in a cage or other enclosure that allows for foraging and open air), with a cap of no more than eight chickens or rabbit per city parcel. We are hopeful this bill will become law this summer. Stay tuned!

For more information please visit online at www.moenironment.org.