Urban Agriculture Ordinances in San Diego

Image    As many of you may already know, on January 31, over 100 San Diego citizens attended the San Diego City Council Meeting to show their support of revisions to an outdated set of Urban Agriculture Regulations. It passed unanimously! These regulations provided the guidelines for produce sales at farmer’s markets, community gardens, and daily farm stands. It also outlines the rules for animal husbandry, loosening regulations for chickens, and allowing miniature goats and European honey bees.

These changes are great for San Diegans because they allow for greater food security and access to local, healthy food. There are two main reasons growing or producing your own food benefits the environment: less packaging and lower fuel consumption. If you can get eggs and tomatoes in your backyard, you can harvest them in a reusable basket, and you get a bit of sun and exercise. The regulations have also relaxed for Community Garden produce sales. Now they can sell once a week, while they used to be limited to three times per year.

Animal Husbandry, in this case the keeping of chickens, mini goats, and bees, is still only allowed in single-family zoned properties. So, if you live in an apartment complex or duplex, you can’t keep these animals. This needs to be changed, in my opinion (all in due time). Also, most Home Owners Associations (HOAS) have clauses that prohibit keeping farm animals altogether.

Here’s a short breakdown of the rules, and I invite you to read more on the links below, and share it widely:

Now, you can keep up to five chickens with no setbacks from your own house, but five feet from the property line (in most neighborhoods, for some it is different). If you want to keep up to 15, they can be housed with no setbacks from your own house, but 15 feet from the property line (may be greater). For up to 25 chickens, they must be 50 feet from any residence. And, you cannot keep a rooster. There are also guidelines like 6 square feet per chicken and proper waste disposal and weekly cleaning.

For miniature goats, because they are more docile when they have company, you can only have two goats, no more, no less. Any offspring must be 12 weeks or younger. All goats must be dehorned, and males must be neutered. Miniature goats are pygmy, dwarf or miniature breeds. Only your family can consume dairy products from your goat. The setbacks and housing requirements are more complex for goats than chickens, and can be viewed at the link below.

San Diego residents can now keep 2 bee hives as long as they are 15 feet from the property line or 20 feet from public right-of-way, whichever is greater, including sidewalks, parks, etc. Because beekeeping involves a smoker, there are a lot of fire regulations that one needs to be aware of.  The second link below has specific information. As for European Honey Bees, the San Diego Bee Keeping Society can answer any questions, and has a lot of resources for new beekeepers.

Now, if you live in a single-family lot, go build that chicken coop, miniature goat enclosure, or bee hive! If you cannot grow or produce your own, buying local grows a healthy local economy, and decreases your carbon footprint! Enjoy local! Below are just a couple links addressing these new regulations–if you have any other resources you would like to share–Please do!




One thought on “Urban Agriculture Ordinances in San Diego

  1. As someone who after a lifetime of not considering where the produce/protein I consumed was sourced from and subscribing to the erroneous ‘food is food’ school of thought, only to recently come to my senses and begin buying strictly organic and locally sourced food from reputable farms, I couldn’t be more pleased with this news. I shop almost exclusively at local farmer’s markets and Whole Foods, buying food that is certified organic, free of GMO’s, antibiotics, preservatives and all the other things that I don’t want to be feeding myself or my family. My wife gets the credit for changing my way of thinking on this issue, as she was the person who initially convinced me to, at the very least, give it a try. I have never put much thought into growing my own, but of course, it makes a whole lot of sense if you have the room to do so. It is great to see all of the people who called organic food a fad and saw it as too “granola” to have any merit beyond novelty beginning to come around and gradually come to their senses (as I did years ago) and care about the food they are putting into their body. Continuing to prove that caring about where our food is sourced from is not just some kind of hippie movement, but rather an intelligent choice that not everyone has made yet is extremely important; and ordinances like these help validate that notion and call attention to the importance of local agriculture and access to locally sourced, healthy food. Thanks for the great write up, made my day!

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