Sacramento, CA Modified Front Yard Landscape Ordinance
California's Central Valley is a region with moderate temperatures and fertile soils that are ideal for growing fruits and vegetables. In 2007, the City of Sacramento revised their Front Yard Landscape Ordinance 17.68.010 to allow vegetables and fruits to be grown in a front yard.
The original Front Yard Ordinance written in 1941 banned the growing of edible plants, where vegetables were confined to the backyard and growing any food plant on the front lawn was punishable by a fine. The original front yard ordinance's intent was to prevent overgrown plants of all types. The new Front Yard Ordinance has no restrictions on the amount or type of edibles that are planted, but the ordinance does specify that anything grown in the front yard must be "landscaped, irrigated and maintained" and if not followed the City has the right to remove or trim the unkempt garden.
The revisions to the front yard ordinance were made as a result of community pressure on the City. The three-year grassroots effort was driven by the Sacramento Citizens for Sustainable Landscapes (SCSL). The SCSL wrote letters to newspaper, online blogs, editorials, and went to different neighborhoods to gain support. Through their outreach and community voice, the City of Sacramento responded and changed the ordinance to allow front yard gardens.
This ordinance is one accomplishment toward Sacramento's commitment to become a more sustainable city. Residents now have the option to plant a garden in the front yard, which is more sustainable than planting grass or other ground covering. Certain gardens often require less water than lawns and often have better exposure to sunlight. The front yard ordinance permits city residents to grow their own food in the front yard, which helps reduce the gas necessary to transport food and also can ensure food security for the community.
Category: Cultural and Natural Resource Assets
Issue: Urban Agriculture Ordinances
Community Type: Urban
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact: Sacramento Sustainable Urban Gardens
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