Jon Tevlin: Bumper crop of 'nimbys' sprouts around plans for urban farms

  • Article by: JON TEVLIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 28, 2012 - 10:13 PM
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  • 1 - 9 of 9
photogpatFeb. 29, 12 7:04 AM

Not terribly unlike my Saint Paul neighbor who has an organic produce/meat share delivered to her door a couple times a month...but opposes my neat compost pile, 3 urban chickens (hens), and near complete lack of lawn. Classic case of "For me, but not for thee..."

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beegusFeb. 29, 12 8:36 AM

Nowhere outside of Linden Hills does one find people more precious than in Kenwood. Both areas are filled with people who claim to care about the "little people" of the world and the "environment" while sitting smugly in their enormous houses sucking up energy as if they have direct pipelines to a North Dakota fracking site.Heaven protect them from people who would like some healthful food that they have actually grown for themselves rather than heading off to Whole Foods in their SUVs.

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pasaraFeb. 29, 12 9:03 AM

People are always fearful of what they do not know. Let's hope council members have the vision to go forward with progressive urban ag policy in the city. Neighbors with little imagination will quickly be won over when they start to see the beauty in something other than a two story stucco with a Scott's lawn and hosta garden.

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Bosco81Feb. 29, 1210:24 AM

I am an avid gardener, and although I don't live in Minneapolis I can see the perspectives from both sides. I think it is excellent that they are looking at having "urban farms" via unused city lots that otherwise usually go unmanaged or unmowed. It will perhaps promote nutritional changes in certain areas that otherwise might not have existed and you cannot get any better then healthy vegetables. I also see it from the perspective of a Kenwood neighborhood residents perspective (high property value). They don't want a garden set up with third hand chicken wire, and a compost pile that it's users maximize the rotting (aka odor) of to create better soil for growing their produce, and alot of the other negative things that are associated with farming (manure,unsightly staking/trellises, etc) . I get that and obviously the hope would be that people are respectful of the people that live around gardens and keep them neat. It never hurts to add perennials around a garden, nice fencing, fancy trellises, etc. Alot of these don't require a lot of money but rather time and imagination. We might actually find these urban gardens bring up the curb value of properties around them. I know that would hold true in many Northside neighbors and Phillips neighborhoods for sure.

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oldsterFeb. 29, 1212:04 PM

If I wanted to live next to a farm, I'd move to the country. Neighbors have legitimate questions about parking, pop up produce stands, and large garden buildings. Urban farming may be the next big thing but let's take the time to do it right rather than marginalize and bully those who have concerns.

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getoutofhereFeb. 29, 1212:28 PM

Within the past few years the City of Minneapolis and private homeowners living on urban lots with 19th century homes on them have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for HAZMAT clean-ups of toxins such as asenic from the soil. This was begun after homeowners became ill after eating produce from their gardens on these sites and testing positive for the toxins. Have those who have sneaked into neighborhoods and contracted to farm on urban lots had soil testings done? Probably not. As far as setting up chicken sheds in yards---Besides the bacteria and viruses associated with chickens (see avian flu) they also draw noxious predators such as rats and raccoons. Contact the State Health Department, Lisa and Meg. Why didn't you do that at the outset of all of this? Pay attention to what is going on around you---You owe it to the citizens who own residential property here.

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ianbickingFeb. 29, 12 2:40 PM

"Tuthill is concerned there hasn't been sufficient public knowledge or input on the plan, and she wants to make sure it doesn't allow someone to grow corn out of a bathtub in their front yard, for example. The committee may delay a decision." Am I not currently allowed to grow corn out of a bathtub in my front yard? Seriously, are there laws covering unconventional planters or whether I grow edible plants vs inedible plants in my front yard? Tuthill and the people she listens to need to understand that what people do with their property is not, by default, something for which we need to ask permission. There's an attitude that anything that anyone might find annoying should be regulated by the city, and that anything is fair game for regulation. Instead of justifying their restrictions as "caution" and looking for potential problems, they need to justify why their restrictions are justified: the onus should be on the regulators to justify their regulation.

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getoutofhereFeb. 29, 12 2:55 PM

Thanks for drawing to our attention, Mr Tevlin, the fact that this occurring in Minneapolis---What's wrong with the Dept of Agriculture in MN that they have not monitored "urban gardening" on the scale that Eric Larsen proposes? Ditto the MN Dept. of Health? This isn't just an aesthetic issue. Venues of this sort draw vermin---Rats and raccoons that are a public health threat. Also, in California they are having problems with gnats from organic gardens. Did anyone else notice the gnat problem that we had in Minneapolis last year? I looked at Mr Larsen's Facebook site---It appears that he is soliciting money from the public frequently. At one point he was asking for $15,000. Isn't it necessary to to have a permit for that kind of solicitation? What's next? Three-holer outdoor toilets at the back of every lot?

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belinda711Feb. 29, 12 3:26 PM

Quote: Member Lisa McDonald, "Most of us moved into [residential] neighborhoods expecting to live next to single family homes and duplexes -- not farms". Did we all expect to live next door to foreclosed homes or vacant lots? Or next to neighbors who may not have been 'neighborly'. The urban farms/gardens are helping to alleviate these eyesores and create community so that the vacant homes and lots are not prone to crime.

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