Resources for Urban Agriculture Ordinances


  • Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture (ChangeLab Solutions):
    • This report primarily distinguishes between home garden, community garden, and urban farm. It provides definitions and alternative definitions as well as a “Model Zoning Ordinance” on page 20. Is cited on multiple websites from multiple cities as a resource that is used frequently.
  • Urban Food Zoning Code Update: Enhancing Portlanders’ Connection to Their Food and Community (City of Portland):
    • This report primarily distinguishes between home garden, community garden, and urban farm. It provides definitions and alternative definitions as well as a “Model Zoning Ordinance” on page 20. Is cited on multiple websites from multiple cities as a resource that is used frequently.
  • Urban Agriculture: A Tool for Creating Economic Development and Healthy Communities in Prince George’s County, MD (The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission):
    • This report is a detailed explanation of urban agriculture and its benefits to a local municipality. It was created for Prince George’s County in 2012, but it provides an in depth definition of urban agriculture and the reasoning behind its chosen definition including other recognized definitions in Appendix A (page 116) and a history of urban agriculture (page 5). The rest of the report systematically explains common terms in urban agriculture, which would be helpful information for policymakers.
  • Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities (Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic):
    • This comprehensive report is geared towards policymakers and advocates. It first gives an in depth explanation of the powers that local governments have in regulating food and health. Sections II and III are relevant for this definitions project; Section II helps explain and define types of infrastructure involved in an urban food system whereas Section III discusses types of land use regulations. Section IV explains regulations for Urban Agriculture and provides examples of definitions used from various cities. It then provides similar sections for community access to healthy food, school nutrition, and food waste.
    • The first version of this report, from 2012, also included a section on Environmental Sustainability, which was excluded from the 2017 version in exchange for a section on procurement and food waste. The versions are identical in effect and the 2017 version provides new examples and updated information.
  • Creating a Food Secure Detroit: Policy Review and Update (Detroit Food Policy Council):
    • This report’s section titled “Food Security in Detroit” gives a review of the definitions of terms used in Detroit’s urban agriculture ordinance and the considerations that went into those definitions.
  • Establishing Land Use Protections for Community Gardens (ChangeLab Solutions):
    • This report highlights model language for urban agriculture zoning ordinances. A great short resource for city planning.
  • Urban Agriculture: A sixteen city survey of urban agriculture practices across the country (Turner Environmental Law Clinic):
    • This report compiles short case study-like descriptions of 16 cities’ urban ag policies and describes how the different types of uses are defined. Does not provide full definitions but is cited on several other sites and reports.
  • Denver Food Vision (City of Denver):
    • This is a good resource as a practical guide for other cities and towns looking to implement comprehensive health planning as it describes its Vision as well as how it implemented it, down to financing, in some detail. It’s most notable, however, for its Appendices; Appendix D has all of the adopted definitions, which could serve as model definitions for another city or town.
  • Excerpt from: Urban Agriculture Policy Plan: Examples from other cities (City of Minneapolis):
    • This summary focuses on key cities that served as a model for Minneapolis’ own policy. The summaries of the cities’ policies discuss how different cities use broad or narrow definitions of various types of urban agriculture as well as how they are zoned. It is a good overview of policies from a variety of cities for local policymakers to pull information from.
  • Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts, and Issues (USDA):
    • This report is useful for its section on “What is Local Food?”. It provides an in depth explanation of common terms and typology used at Local Food Markets.
  • Locally Nourished: How a Stronger Regional Food System Improves the Bay Area (SPUR):
    • This report is not very instructive for determining definitions. But, it is a useful model for looking at how a city defines its “food web” and goals for a healthy food policy. It is also instructive for considering different policy options (zoning v. land easements, etc) and for government structure (how/where tasks should be allocated).
      • SPUR: San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association

Guides and Toolkits


  • National Sustainable Agriculture Assistance Project (ATTRA) — Urban agriculture page:
    • This website was listed as a resource by the City of Baltimore. ATTRA’s Urban Agriculture page links to many other resources, including descriptions of different types of urban agriculture activities or formats (community garden vs. farm).

Resources for Other Healthy Food Policies

  • Model Language Guides: (ChangeLab Solutions)
  • Guide: Healthy Beverage Policies: Key Definitions and Sample Standards (Public Health Law Center)
    • Perfect resource for explaining different types of beverages, why they are regulated, and for providing sample standards
  • Report: Baltimore City’s Food Environment: 2018 Report (Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future)
    • This report gives an excellent overview on the healthy food policies implemented by Baltimore. For this project, the Appendix (page 49) provides definitions used by the city, which, if coupled with the report’s explanation of the city’s policies, would be useful for other cities in creating definitions for terms.
  • Report: Health on the Shelf: A Guide to Healthy Small Food Retailer Certification Programs (ChangeLab Solutions)
    • This is a comprehensive report about designing a healthy food policy around small food retailers. It provides a set of definitions it has created (on page 22), as well as examples of other cities that have implemented similar certification programs (starting on page 61). Because local governments often look towards what other cities and towns have done and how they did it for guidance, we think these two sections would be most helpful. At the end of the Report, however, model language for a certification program has been included, which includes another set of definitions.
  • Report: Healthy Foods Here: Recommendations for Future Programming (King County, WA)
    • This report is an examination of the project “Healthy Foods Here,” a healthy food retail project in King County, Washington. It explains the implementation project and provides recommendations for future work. The section that is relevant to this project is Section 3: Comparing Healthy Food Strategies because it provides a detailed table (page 17) comparing different cities approaches to similar policies as well as a “Typology” section in Appendix A (page 33) that describes how King County was defining different types of food retail places.
  • Website: Creating Active, Accessible Communities page (ChangeLab Solutions)
    • A website containing resources for policymakers and city planners who are implementing master plans similar to Siler City, NC.