As the trend of self-sufficiency continues to grow, there are many people around the world who are looking to get engaged with urban farming. This type of farming is growing or producing food in a city of heavily populated area. The Vancouver region itself has many farmers markets, and many citizens who are green-conscious and are actively involved in urban farming ventures of their own. But now, the city is looking to limit just how much success they will be able to have. City Hall staff in Vancouver are looking to propose some new restrictions on urban farms in the region. Specifically, they are looking to place a cap on just how much people will be allowed to earn and how big their farms can be.
The proposal is a two-year venture and it is expected to be heard by the council on Feb. 23 of this year. According to the managing director of social policy and projects, Mary Clare Zak, the Vancouver authorities want to prevent people inevitably from being able to escape paying taxes. The city wants to limit and prevent urban farmers from being able to achieve farm status from BC Assessment, which offers them a reduction in taxes that a property must pay. “If they're going to apply for farm classification, basically that would be a red flag for us because that's something that we are trying to avoid,” said Zak.
If the new two-year proposal is approved then that would mean new limits for farms on commercial and industrial properties to .7 hectares. In order to be classified as a farm, one would need to have .8 hectares. Also, they want to put a cap on earnings so that no one single farmer or single plot of land will be able to earn more than $9,999 every year. If any farmer wishes to earn above that, then they would need to seek permission, via a permit from the city.
Executive director of the Vancouver Urban Farming Society is looking to the bright side... And that is that now individuals will be able to pay for a license that will enable them to sell their produce from their property. The licenses will range anywhere from $10 to $136 per year. However she did raise concern over the limit of .7 hectares and criticized that this number wasn't based on any extensive research regarding the economics of urban farming. The new restrictions would also possibly slow down the move toward aquaponics and other growing methods, by placing a restriction on just what people would be allowed to grow.
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