Sunday, August 21, 2011

Local Food Needs YOU: Part Two

As a continuation of the call for public involvement on the issue of Community Food Distribution Points as addressed in The Urban Food Zoning Code Update Project, I've asked for permission to share a recent update issued by the The Montavilla Food Buying Club Steering Committee.

 An example of last season's weekly CSA delivery. 
Our ability to gather at an urban drop point in a residential area 
to pick up farm-fresh produce delivered by our local farmer
is threatened by potential changes to the Portland Zoning Code.

Please consider taking a small chunk of time read through the issues and submit your input through the city's Online Survey (open until August 29th). 

This is an important juncture in the storyline of local food in Portland, and your input may very well shape the future of access to nourishing, responsibly sourced meals in this city.


The City of Portland is in the process of putting in place zoning codes to regulate where market gardens, community gardens, farmers markets, chickens and bees, and "food membership distribution sites" (ie. CSA  and food buying club pick up sites) can be located. 

Their decisions could have a big impact on our food buying club, including prohibiting residential/home pick-up sites for both CSAs and food buying club deliveries.

Right now they are leaning toward allowing CSA and food club deliveries only in COMMERCIAL or LIGHT INDUSTRY zones, but NOT allowing them in RESIDENTIAL and OPEN SPACE areas, except maybe at "small distribution sites with fewer members."

Why are they headed in this direction regarding buying clubs and CSA drop sites? Because of concerns about parking/traffic disrupting residential neighborhoods. 

Have they had any complaints? Yes, but only about one club, which has since moved to a commercial space.

We did our best to point out that it is not appropriate to evaluate a club's ability to have home/residential dropsites based on their membership size.  Rather, they should look at how many people participate in a club's average/largest BUYS, how OFTEN those large buys happen, and how long the pick up WINDOWS typically are--since a club can have 200 members but only 40 are buying and picking up for any one buy and it is usually spread out over a number of hours. So, our type of buys have virtually no effect on neighborhood parking or traffic. 

That said, since zoning is totally complaint driven and apparently no one from any of the food buying clubs had ever showed up at these zoning code meetings before, the city planners are going to need feedback to decide in our favor.

OR print a hardcopy and forward it to:

Julia Gisler
Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
1900 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 7100
Portland, OR 97201

The online questionnaire closes Monday, August 29th.  Please weigh in!

What we hope you will say in response to the questions on Food Membership Distribution (which is on page 5 of the online questionnaire):
NO, they are not headed in the right direction.

The new zoning codes should allow drops in residential and open space areas for clubs & CSA drops whose LARGEST buys/pickups at any residential site do not exceed 60 buyers and offer at least a 6 hour window for pickup. Any residential buys/pick ups smaller than that should have no restrictions since they will have virtually no impact on parking or traffic.

You may also want to add something personal in the "What type of impacts concern you the most?"  section. 

This is what Amy Bean wrote: 

"I am very concerned about any limitations with both types of distributions. Families NEED easier food access that doesn't involve a supermarket, and allows for purchases from local farmers and in bulk for reasonable prices. Not only does this improve livability, it strengthens neighborhoods and brings neighbors TOGETHER as partners who share common values in the quality of their food and where it comes from - sustainability in other words."

If CSAs and buying clubs are forced to only use dropsites in commercial locations, it will increase the costs for everyone, since item prices will need to go up to cover renting space for deliveries. It will also be a major pain for small/occasional sellers who would not be able to run buys from their homes.

Please take a few moments, go online to and make your voice heard by Monday August 29th.

Thanks so much,
The Montavilla Food Buying Club Steering Committee 

And thank you to Chana Andler of the Montavilla Food Buying Club and Portland Local Food for allowing me to republish her information.


No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...