Urban agriculture has captured the imagination of San Franciscans in recent years. More than 20 new urban farm and garden projects have launched since 2008, and in 2011 the city changed its zoning code to permit urban agriculture in all neighborhoods. City gardens and farms provide greenspace, recreation, education about fresh food, cost savings and ecological benefits. But the city will not fully capture these benefits unless it responds to the growing interest and energy behind the issue.
The demand for more space to grow food is strong. In most neighborhoods, residents must wait more than two years for a community garden plot. The current amount of land dedicated to urban agriculture is insufficient, funding is down from its peak 10 years ago and support from city agencies is largely uncoordinated, understaffed and, as a result, inefficient. SPUR offers 11 recommendations to expand and coordinate the city’s institutional support, increase funding and provide more access to public land.