The City of Vancouver is moving to regulate urban farms.
Right now, the city’s managing director of social policy, Mary-Clare Zak, says 18 businesses are farming in front and backyards or on school property without any regulations in place.
“What we see here is that there has been lots of demand from both residents to restaurants, to tourists. People want local food … because it tastes better, they want it because it’s a lighter footprint and we recognize there is a long-term need to have more locally grown food in the city.”
Zak says farming is taking place at about 50 different sites in the city and the target is to double that in the next five to seven years.
As to how might that affect property taxes?
“We wouldn’t allow for example on residential properties a farm to be larger than a certain size roughly the equivalent of a front and backyard.”
Zak also says the city doesn’t see a problem with farming the land when property is so scarce and pricey in Vancouver.
“Well I think this is one of the things in an urban environment that we have to weigh out and certainly there are lots of opportunities of individuals homeowners who are quite happy to lease their land for urban farming.”
Policy changes are set to go before council on February 23.