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.