Urban Ag gets a Boost – So Does Farmer-Veteran

So I’m reading the L.A. Times this morning, thrilled to read about our new CA tax law allowing urban property owners to reduce the assessed value of their land (read lower taxes) if they will commit it to urban agriculture for 5 years.  And I think wow, I’ve got to tell D’Artagnan, one of the veterans in “Ground Operations” who’s doing urban Ag in L.A. — and by golly, there he is being quoted in the next two paragraphs!!

D’Artagnan Scorza is a force of nature, inciting his food-scarce community to take up rakes and shovels, and build their own food system.  He and his team at the Social Justice Learning Institute have installed dozens of homeowner and community gardens in the last few years and have grand plans to create an urban farm at one of the elementary schools in Inglewood. In the film, we show an excerpt from the day they worked with Tree People to give away 1,000 fruit trees to 1,000 families. This year they doubled down and gave away 2,000 fruit trees to as many families. I didn’t realize the truth of his statement in the film until I saw him in action … “My time in the military gave me the tools to be effective.” Boy, I’ll say.  We should all be half as effective.

This new law means that urban agriculture is truly a viable avenue for veterans who want to practice sustainable agriculture in their own city environment.  Whether you are reclaiming a vacant lot, working with schools or churches, putting in raised beds on an unused parking lot or taking over an abandoned warehouse … the numbers will crunch much better with lower property taxes.  This gives property owners an incentive to work with veterans (and others) to provide healthy food while receiving perhaps some low but now reasonable rent on the hereto-for unused land.   I love these win-wins.  Let’s hear it for California legislators and Governor Brown!!

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