Portland brings order to food-growing chaos

Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability released an initial draft new codes for community gardens, chicken coops and farmers markets.

Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability released an initial draft new codes for community gardens, chicken coops and farmers markets.

Portland’s efforts to impose order on the booming business of urban food production is one step closer to becoming law.

The city’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability released an initial draft new codes for community gardens, chicken coops and farmers markets.

The proposed urban food zoning code update aims to update food production codes to reflect modern life. Current codes were drafted when larger commercial-grade farms dominated local life, not the neighborhood-centric operations that sprang up to feed Portland's love affair with all things local.

Highlights:

• Community gardens are defined as gardens where one or several individuals raise plants for personal use. The rules would address hours of operation, use of motorized equipment and allow limited sales.

• Market gardens are gardens or orchards where food is grown for sale. They tend to be intensively cultivated. Market gardens would be allowed in more locations than the current rules allow. New regulations would address size, sales, structures, operational hours and use of motorized equipment. Operators of larger market gardens would have to cooperate with neighbors.

• The proposed codes would address food buying clubs that distribute items from farmers as well as community supported agriculture organizations. Rules governing farmers markets would be clarified as would the rules governing animals and bees kept for food purposes.

Staffers will discuss the food codes at two community gatherings, from 6 to 8 p.m., Feb. 31, at St. Philip Neri Church, 2408 S.E. 16th Ave., and from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at June Key Delta Community Center, 5940 N. Albina Ave.

Comments are welcome through 5 p.m. March 7.

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