Urban Food Zoning Code:  Improving Access to Healthy Food

In 2012, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) updated zoning codes to accommodate urban food production and distribution activities throughout the city.  While farmers markers, community gardens, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and food buying clubs continue to thrive in many communities in Portland, some communities have not experienced the many benefits these urban food activities offer.  The zoning code changes helped to remove land use barriers and create more opportunities for everyone to grow and access healthy food.

The Urban Food Zoning Code Update was adopted in June, 2011.

OPHI partnered with BPS and others to advocate for zoning code changes that positively impact health. OPHI convened health stakeholders to identify the health impacts of proposed zoning changes and shared findings in a public review hosted by BPS.

Topic Areas

Market Gardens

Gardens or orchards where food is to be sold.  It may be sold directly to consumers, restaurants, and stores.  A market garden can be the primary use or an accessory use on to a primary use such as a house or an office building.

Community Gardens

Gardens where any kind of plant is grown — including flowers — and several individuals or households work at the site.  The land may be, in some cases, owned and managed by the Portland Parks and Recreation Community Gardens Program or may be privately owned.  The garden may be on church property, a school, corporate park, or medical center, for example.

Farmers Markets

Events that occur on a regular basis at a particular location. Markets may occur during the growing season or year-round.  Market vendors are farmers, ranchers, and other agriculture producers who sell food and added-value products they have grown, raised, or produced.  Some markets allow a limited number of craft vendors who sell products whose materials are from Oregon.

Food Membership Distribution

These sites fall into two categories:

  • Community Supported Agriculture: CSA models allow people to buy a share of the farm’s products (meat, eggs, produce).  The farmer delivers the share — a box or bag of food — usually once a week — to a central location where shareholders can come to pick it up.
  • Food Buying Clubs: These Clubs allow people to pool their resources to buy good directly from wholesalers, distributors, or growers.  The growers or distributors typically make deliveries to a single location or distribution point.  The club then relies on the volunteer efforts of its members to divide up the food for the participants

Animals and Bees

Animals and bees are raised in many places throughout the city, including residential areas, for food.  Many animals including chickens, goats, ducks, and rabbits — can be better accommodated throughout various zones in the city.

For more information about the zoning code topic areas, please read the Concept Report and the Health, Environmental, and Economic Considerations Report.

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