Urban Agriculture Zoning Project, Kingston NY

The Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee launches program aimed at updating farm code and zoning in Kingston, NY.   Partnerships include the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School, Family of Woodstock, Inc. and Larrecca Music Management.

Kingston, NY –  Cities across the United States and abroad are increasingly implementing urban agriculture as a strategy to improve local food security and public health, engage and educate underserved populations, and provide opportunities for job training and economic development. According to the USDA, “around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas.” Between 1994 and 2011 the number of farmers’ markets in the U.S. grew by over 300 percent.

Citizens and organizations in the City of Kingston, NY have been engaged in urban agricultural activities for a number of years.  The City has supported these efforts with the adoption of Common Council Resolution #138 of 2011 recommending the support for Community Gardens and recognizing the opportunity for citizens to grow their own healthy food while showing intent to support the local food economy.  It is critical that the City continue to promote urban agricultural activities.

As the City of Kingston’s comprehensive plan (known as “Kingston 2025”) is being updated currently, an effort to integrate urban agriculture initiatives with revised zoning code provisions has gotten underway in September of 2013.  Led by Kingston’s Urban Agriculture Committee in partnership with the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School (working with Managing Director and Adjunct Professor Jeff LeJava),  Larrecca Music Management (principal Rebecca Martin who is the former Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust) and Family of Woodstock, Inc., the group has hired Hone Strategic, LLC (an urban planning firm led by Jennifer Schwartz Berky, former Deputy Director of Planning for Ulster County) to provide research and updated language so that the City of Kingston supports local food production and allows urban agriculture to flourish. With this initiative, Kingston will lead the Hudson Valley as an innovator in this increasingly popular local food movement.

The primary objectives of this work will be to:

.    Update and catalog factual information about the City’s current urban agriculture activities and related food system.

.    Conduct a survey of properties utilizing real property data and GIS mapping to identify and classify potential types of urban agricultural sites and uses in conjunction with zoning and property classifications;

.    Identify best practices for learning and reference;

.    Propose language to be incorporated into the comprehensive plan that establishes goals, objectives, metrics and strategies for the City to increase local food production;

.    Provide general recommendations for zoning updates; and

.    Based upon the results of the Kingston Urban Ag Initiative, prepare a model local food production comprehensive plan component that can be tailored by other New York municipalities for use in their communities.

After working to incorporate local food production into the comprehensive plan update, the core team will begin the process of identifying changes to be made to the City’s zoning code that will encourage urban agricultural activities on both municipally-owned and private property. This work will be based upon the local food production goals, objectives, metrics and strategies established in the Kingston’s “2025” comprehensive plan.

Additionally, the effort will be presented at the Land Use Law Center’s 12th Annual Land Use and Sustainable Law Conference to take place on December 6th, 2013 in White Plains, NY., highlighting Kingston, NY’s urban agriculture movement.

For more information, contact Rebecca Martin of the Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee at Rebecca@larreccamusic.com


About the Kingston Urban Agriculture Committee  The Urban Agriculture Committee (UAC) is charged to promote community-based, small-scale, entrepreneurial farming by providing education and technical assistance to people interested in urban farming through research and policy development aimed at making urban farming an integral part of a lively and viable cityscape and to encourage our community to embrace and support urban farms.

About the Land Use Law Center for Sustainable Development at Pace Law School   Established in 1993, the Land Use Law Center is dedicated to fostering the development of sustainable communities and regions through the promotion of innovative land use strategies and dispute resolution techniques. Through the work of its programs, centers, and institutes, the Land Use Law Center offers conferences, seminars, clinics, academic law school courses, continuing legal education programs, audio podcasts, and frequent publications and resources on contemporary land use, real estate, and environmental issues.

About Larrecca Music Management   LMM is charged in providing support and strategy for our clients, paying close attention to their creative goals, musical endeavors and legacy. With a focus on education, community and healthy living, our group is dedicated to developing programming that can inspire those young and old in their creative pursuits.

About Family of Woodstock, Inc. Since 1970, FAMILY has been an anchor for area residents- a place where people are respectful and caring, and where the search for solutions is creative and tireless. FAMILY’s shelters, emergency food pantries, court advocates, counseling and case management services, hotlines, and child care supports all work together to help people achieve the changes they seek.

About Hone Strategic, LLC.  Specializing in the adaptive revitalization, reuse and development of unusual and exceptional buildings and places, Hone Strategic’s prinicipal and founder Jennifer Schwartz Berky has worked for 30 years as an urban planner, community development specialist and conservation and development consultant for organizations such as New York City’s Division of Design and Construction Management, the World Monuments Fund, the World Bank and for government agencies and NGOs in Jerusalem (Israel), Rome (Italy) and several other cities abroad. Before founding Hone Strategic in 2012, Berky was Deputy Director of Planning for Ulster County for eight years.

The Kingston Urban Agriculture Zoning Project was made possible by generous public support including a donation from Kevin McEvoy and Barbara Epstein.