Final draft of Urban Agriculture Plan released

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May 19, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

A policy that would make growing more food in Minneapolis parks a top priority and use parks programs to promote sustainable growing practices may soon be approved by the Park Board.

The final draft of the Urban Agriculture Plan will be discussed at Wednesday’s Park Board meeting. The ambitious plan outlines a number of changes the Park Board could prioritize to become a national leader in urban agriculture.

It calls for more classes on how to grow, prepare and preserve local food, setting a local sustainability standard park vendors would need to reach to receive food contracts and implementing a healthy foods policy for the roughly 100,000 meals the Park Board provides for children each year. It also recognizes demand for upgraded community kitchens, which would be prioritized in future park development and renovation.

New or renovated parks would also see spaces set aside for growing food or hosting farmer’s markets. Composting would eventually become standard in Park Board buildings and compost would be integrated into landscaping maintenance.

The plan recommends changing an ordinance to legalize foraging for food on parkland in certain areas. Coupled with that is a directive to plant more fruit-producing trees and to develop a comprehensive policy for community gardens.

The rough draft of the Urban Agriculture Plan was released in November, and staff expects this final draft to be approved in June. To read the full plan, or share it with others, go to bit.ly/mplsurbanag.