Urban Farms and Market Gardens
Urban farms and market gardens contribute to our city's local food economy and food security by enabling fresh vegetables, fruits, and other food products to be grown and sold to City residents and businesses. They also create vibrant community-building spaces.
Urban Agriculture Policy Plan Text Amendment/Zoning Code
In March of 2012 the Minneapolis City Council amended the zoning code to allow for expanded urban agriculture in the city. The zoning code text amendment approved two new land uses—for market gardens and urban farms—and set development and design standards. This effort took food growing to a new level for the benefit of resident health, the environment and the economic vitality of the city. Under the new code, regulatory barriers were removed that made it difficult to establish land uses for agriculture in the city. Urban agricultural land uses were expanded in all zoning districts.The change in the zoning code originated from a broader vision and a specific recommendation for policy changes to support access to land for growing food and to support local food-related activities that was put forward in the first phase of the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative.
Zoning and Development Standards
Visit our Zoning for Urban Agriculture page for information about zoning and development standards for market gardens and urban farms.
On September 19, 2014, the City Council adopted an amendment to modify our zoning code regulations pertaining to farmstands. Farmstands no longer require a Temporary Use Permit, but rather are regulated through the development standards below, listed in the Accessory Uses chapter 537.110 of City code. Farmstands are defined as a temporary structure for the display and sale of food or ornamental crops grown at a community garden, market garden or urban farm.
Farmstands are allowed accessory to a community garden, market garden or urban farm, subject to the following:
- The farmstand shall only sell products of the farm or garden occupied and cultivated by the same producer within the City of Minneapolis.
- The farmstand shall not exceed a duration of 75 days in one calendar year.
- Sales shall be limited to between 7:00 a.m. and sunset.
- Farmstands must be removed from the premises or stored inside a structure when not in operation.
- Only one farmstand is permitted per zoning lot.
- One sign may be displayed during the growing season but must be removed from the premises or stored inside a structure at other times of the year. The growing season is considered to be the months of April through October.
- Farmstands shall not be located in the I3 zoning district.
Hydrant Water Permits for Community Gardens and Urban Farms
The Water Works Permit Office issues garden water permits to community gardens and urban farmers to access a specific fire hydrant for their garden/farm when there is no other water option available. The person must have legal documentation from owner giving permission to use land. These permits are issued seasonally. The water usage is metered and paid for during the growing season. For further questions please call (612) 673-2865 or or visit the Public Service Center located at 250 S 4th St., Room 224, Minneapolis.
On-farm Food Safety Resources
The University of Minnesota provides workshops and consulting related to on-farm food safety and GAPS, as well as an assembly guide for an affordable hand-washing station. Hand-washing is one of the important food safety strategies for every farm and garden. Read more at their website.
Urban Farming Financing
- USDA Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass Map: Learn about local and regional food systems projects funded by USDA and other federal partners from 2009-2012.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has finalized a new program that will provide microloans up to $35,000 aimed at assisting small farmers, veterans, and disadvantaged producers.
- NCR-SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program: Competitive grants program for farmers and ranchers who want to explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education projects.
- The Farmers' Legal Action Group (FLAG) has released a Farmers' Guide to the Farm Service Agency Microloan Program, written to help farmers understand the new category of Operating Loans (called Microloans) now being offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency.
- Urban Gardens and Soil Contaminants - A Gardener's Guide to Healthy Soil [PDF]
- Lead in the Home Garden and Urban Soil Environment [MHT File]
- CURA Vacant Land Assessment for Urban Agriculture in North Minneapolis
- The Land Stewardship Project recently launched a Journeyperson Course as a way to fill the continuing education gap between farm start-up and farm establishment.
- The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has released a new report detailing the financial performance of nine types of specialty crops (pdf) in Minnesota.
- Interested in organic farming? The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program works to ensure the integrity of USDA organic products in the U.S. and throughout the world.
- Farm Beginnings is a farmer-led, community based training and support program aimed at getting more farmers on the land farming sustainably.
- The Natural Resources Conservation Service's Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers.
- Want to sell your food at a farmers market in Minneapolis? Apply for a market distributor license (pdf).
Last updated Jan 9, 2017