Best Practices

  • Encourage Government Buy-in: The vast majority of land for urban farming will likely come from the public sector.  In addition, public subsidy for remediation and operations will be needed in many, if not most cases.
  • Engage with Communities: The central server provides critical support for community-organized urban agriculture ventures, but does not dictate how the community must manage land. Community engagement in the governance of central server is also important for community buy-in, but may be in tension with government interest in control over central server functions.
  • Clear Division of Roles and Responsibilities: There should be a clear division of roles and responsibilities between the central server, government, community organizations, and farmers.
  • Land Ownership by Central Server: Land ownership may generally work best with the central server as the landowning entities, but with an option for local entities to purchase (with reversion to central server if the satellite entity goes under).
  • Central Server Does the Nitty Gritty Technical Stuff:  The central server should pay particular attention to issues that require technical expertise beyond that of growers, and which are best achieved through ongoing relationship between landholding entity and government, land banks, etc. This includes (but is not limited to):
    • Title
    • Insurance
    • Land preparation/infrastructure — environmental assessment and remediation, water
    • Property taxation
  • Central Server Fosters Communication and Education: The central server can provide for communication and information sharing among growers regarding best practices.
  • Seek Opportunities for Property Tax Treatment: The central server should always seek the most favorable property tax treatment in order to protect the ongoing affordability of urban farmland.  In some cases, this may result in the central server entering into long-term ground lease agreements with public entities, trading off a bit of control in exchange for property tax exemptions.
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