The intersectional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis, as well as the heightened awareness of racism and racial disparities across the United States, all shed light on one specific commonality: food injustice. Through a food justice lens, these issues may be further explored and complicated as cities experience exacerbated inequities within food access and food security. These ongoing issues have further illuminated the barriers to achieving food justice, identifying a need for more accessible and affordable opportunities within cities’ food systems. One possible solution to overcome these barriers is the implementation of urban agriculture, which scholars have deemed as a possible driver of food justice. Through this report, we aim to take a deeper look at the ways in which urban agriculture is carried out in other cities, with the ultimate goal of recommending possible strategies to achieve more successful urban agriculture in Lewiston and Auburn, Maine
Our project was rooted in two separate but interrelated processes: 1) the collection and analysis of urban agriculture ordinances from cities across the United Statesand 2) the analysis of interviews with city stakeholders from some of those cities. By examining urban agriculture performance standards and regulations across several cities, we were able to identify successful ordinances and various challenges encountered through the passing of the ordinances. We found examples of performance standards in cities like Chicago, IL, Austin, TX, and Minneapolis, MN that allow for more freedom and equitable urban agricultural practices than are currently practiced in Lewiston and Auburn. The recommendations are as follows: 1) Combination restrictions for fowl, livestock, and compost. Using chickens as an example: residents would be allowed a certain number of chickens on land tracts smaller than x square feet, with additional chickens conditionally permitted for larger pieces of land. 2) Reduced setback requirements for bees, with the addition of flyway barrier requirements implemented when necessary. 3) Increased maximum square footage allowances for community gardens, introduction of the term “market gardens” into city code, and allowances for on-site sale or farm-stand opportunities. 4) Designation and explicit guidelines as to what can and cannot be composted, as well as adding language around composting to make residents’ rights more clear.
Edelman-Gold, Lily and Melendy, Meredith, "Creating Opportunities for Urban Agriculture in Lewiston/Auburn" (2020). Community Engaged Research Reports. 84.