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Urban agriculture bills supported by Espinal, Adams aim for growth

The legislation would make it easier for community gardens to profit from their produce, as well as pave the way for more space.

In a show of support for local greens,

In a show of support for local greens, Councilmembers Rafael L. Espinal Jr. and Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams met with community gardeners Wednesday to tout a package of pro-produce legislation. Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

City Councilman Rafael Espinal and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams want the city to reap the fruits — and vegetables — of its communities’ hard work.

The pair joined city gardeners in East New York on Wednesday to address three bills that would help boost the city’s urban agriculture. Espinal said there are over 550 community gardens in New York, but their potential for produce and fruit distribution hasn’t been reached.

“There is not enough support from City Hall. There’s not enough money from City Hall. We need to change that,” Espinal said.

One of the bills would require the Department of City Planning to create a comprehensive plan to analyze zoning, building codes and other factors to find ways to expand small farms. The bill would also task the Council with assessing the possibility of a city office of agriculture.

Another bill would require the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to generate a report on the processing and selling of greens from community gardens. Espinal’s third bill would extend the period before which a community garden’s license could be revoked.

Adams, who supported the bill, said green spaces aren’t the only community benefit to neighborhood gardens. For some residents, the gardens are the only place they can find affordable fruits and vegetables, he said.

“We have a real problem of clarity of how to move this forward,” he said.

The city changed its zoning laws in 2012 to allow landlords to offer their rooftops for farming spaces and several have popped up, such as the Gotham Greens greenhouse atop the Gowanus Whole Foods store.

Representatives from the mayor’s office did not immediately respond for comment.


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