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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Turning a profit off a green thumb can get urban farmers in trouble *

Councilman Eric Garcetti and his partner, Amy Wakeland *, have transformed their hillside lot in the Elysian Heights section of Echo Park into a large edible garden, complete with fruit trees, a vegetable patch and a "worm-factory." But if Garcetti and Wakeland ever tried to sell some of their home-grown crop to a local market they might violate an obscure 1946 city law called the Truck Garden Ordinance. The law prohibits homeowners from selling some types of edible foods and flowers grown in residential areas of the city. The ordinance forced Silver Lake flower grower Tara Kolla to switch from flowers to vegetables allowed under the law. Now, at the urging of community gardening and green advocates, Garcetti has proposed updating and clarifying the act to give urban farmers more flexibility to sell what they grow. It's been dubbed the Food Flower & Freedom Act, which is being championed by a coalition called Urban Farming Advocates.

"There's definitely a growing interest in locally-grown food and I'd like to see increased accessibility to these products," Garcetti said in a statement.

* Correction: Previous versions of this story identified Amy Wakeland by the wrong last name.

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