Council seeks to legalize community gardens in Nashville

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 11:05am

District 24 Councilman Jason Holleman has filed a bill aimed at fixing a quirk in the zoning code, which outlaws community gardens as a permitted use in open lots in residential areas.

The bill, filed last week, defines community gardens as “a group of individuals growing and harvesting food crops and/or non-food, ornamental crops, such as flowers, for personal or group use, consumption, or donation.”

According to a release from Holleman, current zoning law actually prohibits neighbors from joining together to grow a garden on an open lot. It also prohibits growing fruits and vegetables for profit in Nashville’s urban core.

A group of community gardeners, local food advocates, and countywide community members worked with Holleman in shaping the legislation, including the Food Security Partners of Middle Tennessee, Nashville Urban Harvest, Edgehill Community Garden, and Friends of the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

The bill would not allow residents to raise livestock in the city, nor would it allow community gardeners or commercial community gardeners to operate farm stands in residential areas.

Holleman’s bill is currently being co-sponsored by seven other members of the Metro Council: Kristine LaLonde, Emily Evans, Erik Cole, Mike Jameson, Bo Mitchell, Megan Barry, and Erica Gilmore.

3 Comments on this post:

By: sassydemgrl on 5/26/09 at 3:14

I'm surprised that the city would have a law like this . My grandfather and his friends would be breaking the law under the present administration.The state of MIchigan has a program that encourages the cultivation of communty gardens. I should send that information to the Council so they may review and possibly look into making a change .What else is planned for these vacant lands?

By: house_of_pain on 5/27/09 at 11:05

Wouldn't they also need permission from the owner of the "open lot"?

By: NashS on 4/13/11 at 12:36

Gardens in metropolitan yards are once again becoming popular. Talking about urban gardening almost cannot be done without a discussion of cost. Some say you are able to save hundreds of dollars by increasing your own food. Some try to turn these backyard gardens into full-fledged, profitable local food producers. I found this here: Doing the math on urban farming