Photo by Annie & John via flickr
As cities grow in population and infrastructure, logic implies that room for agriculture would shrink as a result. However, as more communities embrace the farm-to-fork movement, how do commercial real estate developers balance the demands a city with the demands of a city’s culture?
This issue is particularly important for the people of the Sacramento region to consider. Urban agriculture isn’t new to the area. Soil Born Farms, a prominent participant in the movement, started in 2001 and continues to grow food and educate people about urban agriculture to this day.
The farm started in Rancho Cordova – an area much more known for its residential and business focused development. Even there, Soil Born’s founders had a passion for a local, sustainable food system that would be healthy for people and the environment.
That passion has since spread all over Sacramento to the point that the city is now officially “America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.” But Sacramento is also growing quickly, so commercial real estate developers must be careful to create an environment that houses the community’s diverse needs. One way to do so is working with firms that utilize sustainable architecture.
Sustainable or “green” architecture incorporates innovative ideas into their designs that perfectly coincide with a demand for urban agriculture. These ideas include:
- Green walls
- Rooftop gardens
- Vertical farming
- Natural light and heat regulation
- Efficient modular construction
- Reusing shipping containers
Developers can also ensure that their plans include mixed-use buildings and developments that support urban agriculture staples such as:
- Farmer’s markets
- Community gardens
- Food co-ops
- Urban beekeeping
Aside from keeping the people happy, accommodating urban agriculture can also provide commercial real estate developers with benefits like tax incentives. Sacramento passed an ordinance in 2015 that created Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Contracts, “a voluntary contract between the City and a property owner of vacant, unimproved, or blighted property whereby the property owner agrees to keep the property in active agricultural use for a period of five years in exchange for a property tax benefit.”
The popularity of urban agriculture in Sacramento will continue to grow alongside the city – commercial real estate developers should ensure that they capitalize on the movement.