This ad-hoc working group emerged in the summer of 2012 as a spontaneous response to the City of Raleigh's new Unified Development Ordinance. A diverse group of institutional, community, and non-profit voices came together to propose alternatives to Raleigh's then-proposed urban agriculture planning and zoning regulations. The view of the Work Group was that the UDO took some important steps forward in allowing more forms of urban agriculture, but that it fell short of creating an urban agriculture code that removed barriers and actually promoted the development of food production in the city.
Using best practice examples from across North America, as well as the combined expertise of the Work Group itself, we submitted comprehensive zoning language for a progressive urban agriculture to amend the language proposed by the Planning office. In coordination with a robust petition drive, we were able to push for additional hearings by Raleigh's City Council on urban agriculture, though in the final debate limited changes were made by City Council.
As an outgrowth of the Work Group, efforts are underway to develop a Food Policy Council for Raleigh and Wake County. Erin Sullivan White of Community Food Lab, a founding member of the Raleigh Urban Ag Work Group, is spearheading the organization of the Council.
The Raleigh Urban Ag Work Group includes members of Advocates for Health in Action, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, Interfaith Food Shuttle, Sixth Sun, NC Cooperative Extension, and Raleigh City Farm.