Spokane Councilman encourages urban farming

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by SHAWN CHITNIS & KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 30 at 5:42 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- People in Spokane hundred of millions of dollars on food each year and only a fraction of the food comes from local growers. Now, one Spokane City Councilman wants to encourage more farming within city limits.

The City Council President,  Ben Stuckart, said urban farming is a way to keep more money in the local economy. Farmers say changes to city code could help everyone be less dependent on others for certain foods.  

City leaders say $450 million gets spent on food each year but only 2.5% comes from local growers. They want to see more of that money spent on farmers in the Spokane area.

“I think there’s a huge economic benefit doing everything we possibly can in order to bring that local food movement home,” said City Council President Ben Stuckart.

The owners of local farms said consumers will benefit from having quality produce closer to home.

“People can come down  here, they can visit the farm, they don’t have to drive a half an hour, 45 minutes to go to a farm,” said Urban Eden Farm Owner, Jim Schrock.

Farmers in the city face some difficulties in having a farm in the city limits. Right now, farmers are not able to build a barn without adding another house on their property. They also said they don’t know how many chicken or other animals they’re allowed to have at one time.

Farmers say if the city clears up the code even some residents could grow produce in their backyard.

There will be an open house at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Downtown Spokane library about the issue.  Council President Stuckart hopes to have an ordinance on urban farming go before the city council early next year.

 

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