SECTION 1: WHY TRADITIONAL URBAN FARMS DO NOT WORK
Our philosophy on promoting the integration of Secured Medical (psychoactive) and/or Hemp (non-psychoactive) Cannabis Cultivation within these Urban Farms, has always been to make the farms economically viable. If the farm requires charity or subsidies to exist, then the farm is going to spend most of their time looking for that next donation and not tending to the farm. If governments want to incentivize urban farms they need to understand this. It doesn’t matter how much they propose in reducing our property taxes as a way to incentivize new startups if the farms can’t create enough revenue to stay in business. This should not be new information for our policy makers to consider. The data is out there. History has shown that more than 75% of these startups will fail within the first year because they simply can’t generate enough revenue to maintain operations while paying employees a living wage or contend with the myriad of other expenses in order to keep them financially viable.
SECTION 2: TWEAKING OUR CURRENT URBAN AGRICULTURAL MODELS SO THEY DO WORK
While property tax incentives, no doubt, do provide some relief from the expenses that contribute to the high percentages these failures, the harsh reality is that it is not enough. When California passed AB-551, the Urban Agriculture Incentives Zone Act (UAIZ), it was to designed to give local governments a tool to incentivize property owners into allowing Urban Farms development with reduced rents as a result of their having had their property taxes reduced. But to those property owners who would enter into one of these UAIZ contracts, it is a carrot and big stick agreement. A UAIZ contract requires the farm to operate for 5 years. If the farm were to cease operations within the agreed upon 5 years then all the tax waivers would have to be paid back. In other words, as a property owner, there is no incentive to get into one of these UAIZ contracts if there is a chance my tenants farm is not going to make it for 5 years. I’ll have to pay back the waived property taxes and I will have lost out on full rental value of the property had I rented to a viable business instead of an Urban Farm. As a social economic experiment UAIZ may work, but in terms of creating laws and ordinances that make Urban Farms economically self sufficient it’s time to consider some of the broader spectrum options we have before us that will make economic sense to property owners and investors.
SECTION 3: WHEN IT COMES TO URBAN FARMING WHY CHARITIES DON’T WORK BUT INCENTIVES DO
We must implement social programs that stimulate job creation and provide economic opportunities within communities which have historically and disproportionately been affected by our nation’s drug laws. Our communities need programs that do not rely on handouts and subsidies to exist. Urban Farms must be self sufficient, not subject to having funds cut based on a future political whim. In fact Urban Farms should NOT rely on tax incentives to operate at ALL. The incorporation of Secure Medical Cannabis Cultivation on these farms would not ask for, nor would they need these incentives.
California is blessed with an abundance of grape and cannabis farms. What we don’t have is an abundance of those ‘farm to fork’ or urban gardening opportunities that would help provide for our basic food needs. If/When the ‘Big One’ comes how are we going to feed our cities? The point of a 151 Farm has always been that not only do we need ‘More Gardens Not Less’ but that those gardens need to be diverse and economically sustainable so that they can provide ongoing service to the communities they serve. This is where government and our communities can begin to come together with the development of Cannabis Equity Programs that support urban agriculture with hemp and traditional crop cultivation which benefit those who have been historically and disproportionately victimized by our nations drug laws.
SECTION 4: WHEN WATER IS THE NEW OIL
Another harsh reality to consider in these discussions is that in California, and the Western States we are rapidly approaching a crisis. This crisis is brought on by steadily increasing demand on steadily decreasing available water supplies. Without water there are no crops. Tax incentives that require the Urban Farm to operate for 5 years are not going to create more water for these farms. Urban Farming is not meant to be a temporary band aid but rather a long term asset that serve our communities into a well fed tomorrow.
Another point of a 151 Farm has been and will always be, that our Urban Farms promote environmentally responsible cultivation techniques that SAVE WATER and REDUCE ENERGY CONSUMPTION. These farms should exist to offer examples within our communities of what we can and must do in order to save our precious natural resources while meeting the needs of our communities. Work with your local governments and elected representatives, to consider the issues being raised here. Help us help them in developing their policies on these issues.
Learn more about the laws that were passed in May 2018 that mandate reduced water consumption levels and the penalties that will apply if they are not met;
SECTION 5: ENDLESS MEETINGS DO NOT WORK. WHY PUBLIC POLICY NEEDS TO MEET OUR REAL SOCIAL, ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEEDS NOW
The problem most local governments have when creating laws and regulations that will define the nature of what is a legal cannabis enterprise is that it is a complex topic. The so called experts are often times advancing cannabis laws and regulations that advance theirs or their clients needs. These are real problems that more and more governments are having to come to grips with as they are sued for not creating an environment that is fair and impartial when awarding these limited licenses. Invariably these licenses are focused on the psychoactive cannabis products. What we propose is that while local, state and even eventually national government and their myriad agencies create these laws and regulations as it pertains to psychoactive cannabis, that instead ur urban farms grow non-psychoactive cannabis, hemp, that will become the cash crop that sustains these urban farms while providing local economic growth, jobs, housing, education, organically grown food and medicines, incubates other business, trains youth for careers in agriculture or associated industries, reduces crime and creates a sense of community pride and spirit with our farms. his seems like a massively overreaching statement but having built these farms I can tell you that is not the case.
Here is one example of how that is being done with a program similar to ours. In fact if every time you hear her use the word food in her presentation you think to insert the word cannabis in your mind you’ll get the idea what we started our premise to build 151 Farms upon:
and our particular take on Pam’s model which builds on her ideas by adding hemp into our crops and growing our plants entirely above ground in a soilless media with the use of recirculating water in rock tubs which we refer to as 151 Rock Farming. Learn more @
Lastly because the urban farms are soilless, we do not require massive building design and construction review and permitting services. If the communities needs change and a particular 151 Urban Farm needs to be moved it is simple to do so. These farms are modular in nature. They can be designed to run thousands of acres or in as little as a few thousand sq-ft of an inner city area. If, for whatever reason we have to move one of these farms it is not a big deal to do so. The only lasting remnant after we leave would be a utility power pole with a meter on it that can be taken our after we leave and these are not big power systems anyway. The amount of power that a single rock farm consumes, not including power that might be required for an office trailer on site is less power than your normal home refrigerator consumes as we only need to provide power to a single pump that will keep the water recirculating in the system.
SECTION 6: WHAT IS YOUR GOVERNMENT DOING TO PROMOTE URBAN FARMING OPPORTUNITIES?
Local governments are now in the position to create and implement ordinances which are compatible with their communities needs. 151 Farms has proposed solutions that with intelligent debate and compromise could be tailored to address these issues. Accordingly this section will be updated on a regular basis as to city and county governments that have made their latest positions known on whether or not Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation may be integrated into their urban farming ordinances.
If you are reading this and your city or local government has not yet established their positions and policies on integrating Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation into their list of requirements for urban farming enterprises we ask that you have them do so as soon as possible since time is of the essence.
By clicking the city named in the list below you will then be taken to whatever ordinances they have passed that asserts their official position on this matter.
Cities that APPROVE Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation within Urban Farms
Cities that DENY Secured Medical Cannabis Cultivation within Urban Farms