In Rust Belt cities like Toledo, where populations are dwindling and vacant lots abound, urban farms are community-driven solutions that lend a progressive thinking to the renewal process.
The Toledo Paper
Aug 30, 2017
How can Toledo government support urban farming initiatives seeking to out healthy food in neighborhoods that need it the most? Smart legislation provides one potential answer.
Legislation has always played a central role in the use of land and resources. A recently championed “Right to Grow Ordinance,” prompted by the city’s treatment of Thomas Jackson, is the work of a team of experienced urban agriculturists, a zoning expert, and an attorney at Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, formed by Sean Nestor, co-chair of the Lucas County Green Party ( and sometime City Paper contributing writer).
The draft legislation can “take the city from a position of not really knowing how to approach urban agriculture to a very forward-thinking urban agriculture community,” explains Nestor.
The group tweaked bits of Cleveland’s already established Urban Agricultural Law ( ordinances passed starting in the mid 2000s) to apply it locally with an approved list of agricultural area for residentially zoned properties without the need for further permitting.
The ordinance also seeks to establish an Urban Agriculture Community Board, comprised mainly of urban farmers, to advise Toledo’s mayor on these issues and move them forward.
In the meantime, there are some, entrenched in the community, who are already taking steps towards easing the food insecurity plight.