How Urban Farming Can Become a Tool for the Oppression of the Poor

Comments

1
Or you could be happy that, relatively cheaply, San Francisco was able to bring some public open space to dense neighborhoods. Your view appears to be that any use of space in a city other than building more apartments on it, is to be deplored and an affront to the poor. But the people living in the tall buildings might actually need some place interesting to look at, and to interact with the community with, when they walk out their doors.
2
..says the guy with the single family house..

But give Charles credit - he is smart enough to not live in a Human Storage Facility, even though he may preach about how all good socialists should be living in one.

Example #983853 of "do what I say, not what I do"
3

So San Franscisco is dense, but not really.

And the truly wealthy -- like in and around Seattle -- live in absolute sparsity, either in large mansions, big old homes, or whole floor apartments.

Meanwhile, having bought in as an investment, the best thing for existing owners would be not to densify, but to take property off the market.

The US has done this continually through GMAs and land acquisitions, but urban farms. That's a brand new way to keep the newcomers out of the market!
4
This appears to be a niche tax break for a limited purpose, neither aimed at nor capable of slowing the rush of developer sales by motivated owners.
5
@1 SF has an enviable amount of public open space.
6
If this is occurring in SF in a manner that is consuming space that could otherwise be developed for housing, it's a rare event. I saw a for-sale sign on a corner lot that is literally a sheer cliff with trees clinging to it. No one in their right mind would have considered habitable until a year or two ago. If you can fit a house on it someone is going to put one there at some point.

That said, there is a bee farm down the street from my house on a plot of land supposedly owned by Clear Channel that can / probably will be home to a large multi-family development in the not-too-distant future. The lot will be far more valuable to them as a development than it will as a tax write-off.
7
One thing conveniently left out of the density debate is the slight problem that exponential increases in density mean a place ceases to be the place that originally made a lot of people want to live there. To cram 3 million people into SF whole historic neighborhoods would have to be bulldozed, replaced with disposable apartment/retail developments like those that are taking over Capitol Hill. Highly doubtful that this would immediately give the poor a place to live but you might inadvertently get that wish eventually, when the rich once again bail for the suburbs because the city they wanted to live in has turned into nothing but an over-sized shopping mall.
8
how much land are we talking about here, Charles? like 2 acres total? whoop de doo.
9
You will never really be a happy person, will you Charles?
10
To help the poor, SF should be more like Manhattan? Because at least in Manhattan poor people can afford housing, unlike San Francisco? What?
11
Manhattan has urban "farms" too. It was a big deal about 15 years ago when a bunch of them were at risk of being sold off by the owners.

And, as others have noted, tax breaks are nothing compared to what an owner of an empty lot can make by selling/developing the land.
12
I'm not sure anyone, even urban farmers, would argue turning city land into a garden is "progressive."
13
Yep, tiny tax breaks are much more profitable than developing land.

Also, it is socialists putting up apartment buildings and creating density right? I forget.
14
#5 And now as a result of some good tax policy it will have additional open space, used by the public for community purposes, right in the heart of density instead of off on the edge of the ocean.
15
The problem is we think all density is the same.

A house on one lot that rents to 8 people has higher density than the four 2BR 1.5BA 1 garage townhouses that have 1.5 people per townhouse that are four stories.
16
Totally incoherent and whiny post. It's good to see you back in your niche, Charles!
17
I don't even know where to start. I doubt the reason the "rich" are planting gardens is to oppress the poor. I have a backyard garden myself and share what I grow with the neighbors. Its good healthy organic food that I freely give. I think its great SF is encouraging this. Low income housing is rarely found in single family zones. Its usually older apartments. Growth Management Act tells us where and how much we can build, Its not just the open space issue but there must be enough amenities to support the population
18
And don't get me started on p patches. Seattle is planning a park at Federal way E & Republican. A small park made smaller so that a hand full of folks can have graveyard size gardens. This was also done in a park by Gaybucks on Olive. Park space comes at a premium in a dense neighborhood such as Capitol Hill. It is discouraging to see it turned over to a few people at the expense of the whole.
19
There is a "Tool" here - but it isn't Urban Farming.
20
"Corn grows where the poor could live. "

Staggering.
21
You know what would do infinitely more than controls on urban farming to promote density and help the urban poor?

The heavy, to the point of burdensome, property taxation of single family houses to subsidize denser low income housing.

You know. Single family dwellings being so evil to density proponents like yourself.

And. You know. Single family dwellings like the one you live in, Charles.
22


Mudede -- Again your argument collapses due to a weak foundation.

Our society isn't organized around "the accumulation of money as its core principle." Silly Marxist.

Our society is organized around the liberty of individuals and the primacy of private property. Throw in freedoms of expression and association and you'll find that the organizing idea of our society is for people to create what they want that serves a purpose to others. For that effort, value is exchanged.

Wealth accumulation is far more often a byproduct of people's motivations to be productive.

For those that can't or won't find what they want to create and contribute -- there's the refuge of statism.

I know it challenges the worldview necessary for your strain of social totalitarianism but.

1) Most Americans (53%) are VERY satisfied with their job. (9-in-10 are at least somewhat satisfied). And 82% of people feel appreciated by their employers.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cbs-news-pol…

2) People in the suburbs are marginally happier than people in cities. And Non-urban minorities are just as satisfied as non-urban whites with the communities they live in.

http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/08/…

While we're at it:

1) Strict gun laws are highly correlated with high gun violence.

2) Statistically, the number of mass shootings has not increased.

3) The most "open and transparent" President punished journalists and spies on citizens.

4) Gitmo is still open and the Iraq war was won – until it wasn't.

5) You can't keep your doctor, after all.

Hope and change!

23
@14, you've never lived in SF, have you
24
@22 for the win. well done.
25
that's Federal Avenue East and East Republican Street, vulgarian. and i don't see any progress on making it a PARK, let alone a pea patch.
26
I think a better incentive that meets housing needs and the current growing trend of urban gardening would be to subsidize the development costs for low income housing and add a further incentive if the development had a rooftop edible garden, or balconies that architecturally made food easy to grow by building armatures or adding irrigation stub-outs to the baloncies. How cool would that be?
27
Calculate property tax on the maximum possible build out. This would make undeveloped/under developed lots untenable.
28
@18 seattle p-patches donate hundreds of thousands of pounds of fresh produce a year to food banks. Not to mention the community built and/or that people are learning how to grow their own food, which is a skill you will wish you had when zombie apocalypse happens. Recognize!
29
1) Urban farming is a radical paradigm-shifting practice that almost always serves to undermine the socio-economic status quo.

2) Literally anything and every practice, object, cause, etc in this society can theoretically be used (and often is used) by elites to subjugate the poor.

3) There is no real evidence that actual urban farming is anything but an asset for low-income residents in the vast majority if not all cases. This article is a theoretical hypothesis masquerading as a statement of fact with no evidence to support it.

4) Attempts to increase density have not solved housing problems in San Francisco because of underlying political obstacles. If you actually want to learn about this issue, see the San Francisco Public Press' spectacular coverage of it in their latest issue. http://sfpublicpress.org/housingsolution…
30
Urban farming and localvorism are the most preposterous "solutions" to the "problem" we have in America with food right now. Shut up please, you fucking foodie elitists.

Good words in this piece, Charles. Thank you.
31
What @28 said. P-patches regularly donate to food banks, where people in need can get food for FREE. The P-Patch program also has sliding scale plots (even though the most expensive, largest plot is something like $60/year) and accommodate (a minimum of) one plot per patch dedicated to feeding the poor. Many patches organize fundraisers or participate in ones dedicated to community programs. Gardeners are required to volunteer a minimum of 8 hours a year in keeping up the patch. Not to mention the happiness/sanity/health/eco-friendly/beautifying-the-neighborhood factor of community gardens.

I can't keep up with Charles. Last year he loved trees. This year community gardens are oppressive to the poor. He's so picky.
32
Hey, look, with a few minor missteps Mudede is right about something. Well done, sir.
33
Ok. I take it back. Let's take all our parks and turn them into farms.