PRESS RELEASE—The City of Grand Rapids’ Urban Agriculture Committee is inviting the community to provide input on current and desired urban agriculture opportunities. The committee is hosting a community open house before its bimonthly meeting Wednesday, July 10 at Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, 334 Burton St. SE. Residents are invited to submit comments or ask questions related to urban agriculture activities and priorities from 5 to 6 p.m.
Urban agriculture covers a wide span of activities but can be simplified as producing food to eat or sell in the city by growing plants and/or raising animals.
The committee meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 6 p.m. City Manager Mark Washington will open the meeting with a brief overview of the City’s strategic priorities and how they can support urban agriculture goals.
“We’re glad to see how much the City’s strategic plan focuses on equity,” said Joan Huyser-Honig, chair of the Urban Agriculture Committee. “Our committee’s recommendations include ways to expand green spaces and improve health equity. Other cities are leading the way by reducing policy barriers so more people can grow, raise and harvest healthy food.”
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss formed the Urban Agriculture Committee in 2017 to provide guidance to the City on policies and zoning around the growing trend of urban agriculture. As the committee reviews current city ordinances related to urban agriculture, it is looking at national best practices in urban agriculture rules and ordinances. The committee plans to provide recommendations to the City’s Planning Commission after the July 10 meeting.
The Urban Agriculture Committee has held several previous community engagement sessions and distributed a survey to stakeholders – all of which are providing guidance in its recommendations. The community sessions and survey results indicated more education was needed on urban agriculture and how it might impact future planning for the city.