Many people often ask me if I can recommend a garden in or near their community that they could grow fresh produce in. I always say I know of several great community gardens, centrally located, but the waiting list can be up to two years long! You’re probably asking yourself how that is possible in such a perfect climate town with what seems like an abandoned lot on every corner. Well NBC San Diego put together this quick video explaining why these gardens are so rare.
Basically most of these vacant lots are zoned for commercial property i.e. property that generates property taxes that go back to the city. These community gardens generate $0 for property taxes so they are essentially prevented from sprouting on commercial land. Now council members Todd Gloria and Sherri Lightner are pushing to change city zoning laws so that commercially zoned lots can become community gardens. With this change interested parties will still need to meet with the owners of the vacant land to get their permission as well as start the permitting process with the county which requires plans and a $5,000 deposit. Here are the previous application forms which are hopefully about to undergo a major face lift. Thankfully there are non-profits like IRC, Victory Gardens San Diego and One in Ten Coalition that are spearheading the movement making it easier for an individual to get involved and be heard by their government.
Lend your voice and sign the petition here to let the San Diego council members know this issue is important to you.