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City of Worcester's

Urban Agriculture

Ordinance

What is Urban Agriculture?

Urban Agriculture can be broadly defined as growing food within the city. It can include growing food on vacant land, aquaponics, hoop houses, school gardens, community gardens, on rooftops, in backyards.  It also can include keeping bees.  The food grown may be for personal consumption or for commercial use.

UrbanAg increases access to healthy and fresh foods by increasing the amount of food produced locally. Access to healthy foods increases through such things as an increase of farm stands in neighborhoods across our city and new small businesses producing and using locally grown produce.

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Why is Urban Agriculture Good for Worcester?

Urban agriculture improves health, supports community development, and provides economic benefits. 
 

  • Buying local produce is good for the environment, as it cuts down on carbon emitted from large scale, industrial agriculture

  • Community members can experience physical, mental and emotional benefits from urban growing 

  • Growing and producing food provides even greater opportunities to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables, which supports health and well-being in our city

  • Urban Agriculture provides more culturally appropriate food for our multicultural city

  • When these enterprises are for commercial purposes it is bringing local jobs into our economy!

  • Communities also benefit from the greenery in their neighborhoods, especially when gardens or farms replace vacant lots or blighted areas.  The greenspaces help to clean our air and support improved rainwater absorption.

Worcester's Urban Agriculture Ordinance

 

The zoning amendment defines what constitutes an urban farm, community garden and yard garden, identifies and categorizes where each of them are permitted or require special permits, and establishes rules and regulations designed to minimize potential impacts and maintain the safety of the neighborhood areas while encouraging healthy food growing practices.
 

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Seeing This Ordinance Come To Life


Many Worcester residents are already taking advantage of this ordinance to grow food, organize community and school gardens, and sell at farmers markets. The REC supports many existing growing projects across the city.