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Garden to Table Advocates for Agriculture Land Use on Industrial Zones

CommUniverCity San José’s Growing Sustainably, a direct partnership of Garden to Table, advocated successfully for changing Title 20 (Zoning Ordinance) for industrial zones to allow up to one acre of urban agricultural land use.

When Barry Swenson signed a land use agreement with Garden to Table to allow them to use a one-acre empty lot by Taylor Street and Guadalupe Parkway, the City of San Jose reached out to Zach Lewis, Garden to Table Executive Director, to work together on making changes to the land use ordinance. As part of the General Plan update for Envision 2040, the City of San José strived to improve access to healthy, fresh foods.

Garden to Table intern Tracy Minicucci and CommUniverCity San José Project Coordinator Greg Currey worked with Zach to research best practices from Seattle, Portland, Oakland, San Francisco, and Kansas. After presenting these best practices, Garden to Table helped the city draft an update to the zoning ordinance, addressing the following items:

  • Providing a clear framework to allow and support urban agriculture in the City of San José
  • Allowing urban agriculture as a permitted use in industrial, commercial, and downtown zoning districts
  • Allowing a variety of uses and animals on urban farms, such as aquaponics, chickens, and bees.

As a result of Garden to Table’s efforts, neighborhood agriculture on sites less than one acre is now a permitted use in all industrial districts, as are sales of all produce grown on these sites. Another outcome of this effort is that aquaculture and aquaponics are now a special use in industrial zoning districts.

With one major zoning change already accomplished, the City of San José is preparing to address commercial zoning changes in late October to allow more urban agriculture activities.

Stay Informed to Support Commercial Zoning Changes to Allow More Urban Agriculture Activities

Go here to view the minutes from the previous Planning Commission meetings on September 11, 2013. Go here to view minutes from the September 17th City Council meeting (see item 11.4). Come support us at next Planning Commission meeting in October 2013 (date to be determined) to support the changes for Title 20 (Zoning Ordinance – view draft ordinance). The Planning Commission Staff Report is viewable at the following link.


Zach Lewis, Executive Director – Garden to Table, and Yan Yin Choy, Communications Director – CommUniverCity San José

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