You’ve probably heard about the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s proposed urban farming ordinance. The new ordinance would permit residents to sell home-grown produce at their homes – something that’s not currently allowed. The city council is set to vote on the ordinance Thursday, June 10th. You can review some of the details of the ordinance in this Kansas City Star article from June 2nd.
While there seems to be healthy support for the ordinance, much of it organized by a group called Kansas City Center for Urban Agriculture, there has been some organized opposition as well – particularly from local real estate brokers and agents. They fear that urban farmers who sell produce from their homes will adversely affect the property values of their non-farming neighbors. A recent email from one agent included a flyer that contained the following assertion:
“It decreases property values because of the High traffic (auto & people) on & off the block, strangers constantly in neighborhoods increases crime risk & exposure, safety issues for children, workers & customers parking on the street coming & going.”
I respect other real estate industry professionals and their right to opinion, but I would like to clarify that I am a realtor who supports Kansas City’s proposed urban farming ordinance (although I disagree with the ordinance’s prohibition of front yard “row crops”). I believe that the presence of active, urban farmers is a good thing for our neighborhoods. The idea that the presence of enterprising gardeners and farmers will somehow ruin a neighborhood’s property values is unfounded.
Let’s keep in mind that property values are determined by what people value. The growing wave of interest and appreciation for urban agriculture and locally produced food is undeniable, and I believe that community gardens and active urban farmers add value to our neighborhoods. In addition to increasing the availability of healthy food, urban farming operations can help contribute a real sense of place and community to a neighborhood. These are values that healthy, sustainable neighborhoods have always found beneficial.
Whether you’re a realtor or a resident (or both), I would like to know how you feel about the proposed ordinance. Are urban farms a good thing for Kansas City’s neighborhoods? What do you see as the risks or the benefits ? Let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!