Urban farmers were delighted Tuesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a proposed ordinance that could make growing and selling fresh produce in Chicago much easier.
In December, some of the biggest local names in urban agriculture had protested a previous proposal that they felt would stunt the growth of city gardens with cumbersome rules on plot size, high-end fencing and produce sales in residential areas.
Erika Allen, head of seven nonprofit Growing Power farms in Chicago, predicted at the time that her group’s work “would be over” if the zoning ordinance passed.
But Tuesday morning, Emanuel chose Allen’s new Iron Street Farm in Bridgeport to present his proposed ordinance — one that marks a turnaround on almost every thorny issue in the last proposal.
“We’ve been working really hard to see this happen,” said Allen, who served on the mayor’s transition team. “I think it’s just a new administration and a changing of the guard. Former Mayor (Richard) Daley was supportive, but there was a lot of opposition coming out of (the zoning department) that was very much entrenched in ‘this is the way it we do it.’”