Say “Yes” to Healthy Food in Boston | Conservation Law Foundation

Say “Yes” to Healthy Food in Boston

Christine Chilingerian


Will there be more farm stands coming to Boston soon?

The existing zoning code in the City of Boston is about to undergo a momentous makeover: farming will become a permissible use of land in Boston. Urban agriculture will provide improved access to healthy food in Boston. It will also allow environmentally sustainable economic growth by reducing carbon emissions and transportation costs through closing the physical distance between farms and urban consumers. With this new zoning change, Boston is about to become a greener place.

After many months of public participation at open neighborhood and working-group meetings, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has finished drafting the newest section of the city’s zoning code, Article 89.

Here are just a few examples of some exciting changes:

  • The Boston Public Health Commission developed a rigorous Soil Safety Protocol to ensure that all food grown in Boston is safe to eat.
  • Urban farms of less than one acre are allowed anywhere throughout the city. Farms larger than one acre will be allowed, subject to a streamlined design review process.
  • Any farm will also be allowed to run a farm stand, increasing access to the freshest local foods for all Boston residents.

In addition to increasing Boston’s production of fresh food, Article 89 will also improve access to more affordable, nutritious foods for urban neighborhoods. This is accomplished by rezoning the city to allow commercial farms and markets. Furthermore, Article 89 addresses key issues in urban agriculture such as composting, rooftop farms and greenhouses, aquaculture, hydroponics, and rules for the keeping of bees and chickens.

CLF proudly supports this finalized version of Article 89 after working diligently these past months to help refine the regulations to best support urban farmers. Throughout the development process of Article 89, the BRA demonstrated a commitment to public engagement, fostered collaboration among Boston’s communities, and promoted a sense of connection to our food.

The final phase of the process is now here and your involvement is critically important.  The BRA Board will vote on Article 89 on Thursday, November 14th from 3:30 – 6pm on the 9th Floor of Boston City Hall, room 900. Come tell the BRA Board that you want Article 89 passed!

An agenda for the meeting will be available on the BRA website.

Following the November meeting, a final adoption hearing will also be held before the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on the morning of Wednesday, December11th. We look forward to seeing you there!

*Update: The 11/14 meeting time has been moved to 3:30 pm with the Article 89 discussion planned for 4:45 pm.*

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