A Greener New Orleans 2022
New Orleans City Council
Agriculture is an important strategy for mitigating and adapting to the climate crisis, which we all know is disproportionally affecting New Orleans. Agriculture encourages community wellness, biodiversity, soil health, and air quality amongst a variety of other benefits. For these reasons, it is so important that the city of New Orleans begins to see agriculture and gardening not as isolated and temporary activities but as powerful vehicles for creating a better city.
We propose the following policy platform that changes growing food in our city from 'allowed' to encouraged. For more information, check out our website!
Plank 1: Growing Green and NORA Lease Changes
Publishing the steps of the process with clear timelines and additional resources
Harmonizing the lease restrictions with what’s allowed under the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO)
Allowing the lease payments to be subtracted from the sale price
Decision matrix for:
Continuation of leases
Allowing the leases to be recorded legally
Allowing appraisal of property value as an agriculture use rather than the highest and best use
Clarifying the process for blight citations and violations
Plank 2: Accessible process for getting agricultural water meters installed
Having a clear and consistent way to speak to Sewerage and Water Board (SWB) about agricultural meters
Training SWB staff on the process of putting in and billing for an agricultural water meter
Having public documentation for the process, including a step-by-step form for getting a dedicated meter
Plank 3: Alter the process for reporting and citing blight to understand the needs of growers and how gardens look during different seasons
Relying on relationship with Urban Agriculture Liaison to help inform when a property is genuinely causing blight or when it looks different than city officials are used to (i.e., cover cropping)
Creating a more fair and transparent process for requiring the removal of blight from urban farms and gardens
Plank 4: Creating an appointed Urban Agriculture Liaison position - with access across City Government
Allowing access for one person to ask questions directly, create recommendations and attend meetings with city officials (such as blight hearings)
This person can be a point of contact for both growers or the city.
New Orleans City Council
From: [Your Name]
Hello City Council Members!
I'm concerned about the ease and access to opportunities for growing local food in New Orleans. We have such a rich food culture in our city but our laws and policy don't support food production in the city. This is incredibly important during storm seasons and as climate change accelerates. Please support these changes which are being proposed by the hardworking farmers and gardeners of the city of New Orleans!