Just in time for the abundance of tomato and zucchini season, Berkeley City Council passed legislation to allow neighbors to sell what they grow in their gardens. Adopted by City Council on July 31st, the ordinance updates the Berkeley Municipal Code to cover the sale of non-processed fruit, vegetables, nuts, honey and eggs.
As the local food movement grows, residents are looking to small-scale, home-grown produce as a way to have a greater connection to their food. Yet, Berkeley did not have a policy that specifically covered selling backyard produce in residential neighborhoods. Now, raw agricultural products will be able to be sold without costly and time-consuming permits.
This new ordinance is part of on-going implementation of the Berkeley Climate Action Plan (CAP). Specifically the CAP calls for increasing and enhancing local food production, to improve health and sustainability. Sustainable food systems promote access to healthy foods and reduce the distance that food must travel to get to our tables. In addition, backyard food production helps create community resiliency for climate change impacts or other disasters.
With the adoption of this ordinance, selling non-processed edibles will be allowed on occupied residential lots, given residents meet certain conditions, including selling within given hours and limiting the number of daily customers. As an exempt activity, selling would not be subject to zoning review and would not require a zoning permit. Instead, it will be treated similar to a yard sale. The ordinance does not allow for any processed or value-added products, such as pickles or jams, to be sold.
Let the zucchini bumper crop commence, happy harvesting and bon appétit!