Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2030526
 


 



Of Backyard Chickens and Front Yard Gardens: The Conflict Between Local Governments and Locavores


Sarah Schindler


University of Maine - School of Law

March 28, 2012

Tulane Law Review, Vol. 87, No. 2, 2012

Abstract:     
Locavores aim to source their food locally. Many locavores are also concerned more broadly with living sustainably and decreasing reliance on industrial agriculture. As more people have joined the locavore movement, including many who reside in urban and suburban areas, conflict has emerged between the locavores’ desires to use their private property to produce food — for personal use and for sale — and municipal zoning ordinances that seek to separate agriculture from residential uses.

In this article, I consider the evolution of this conflict and its implications for our systems of land use, local government, and environmental law. Specifically, I investigate the police power rationales for the existence of ordinances that disallow urban homesteading in urban and suburban communities. I then demonstrate that public health, civic virtue, and free market principles can be used to justify the passage of ordinances that would expressly permit these behaviors. Central to this analysis is a discussion of the problems caused by industrial agriculture and the lack of access to locally produced foods — food insecurity, food deserts, obesity tied to processed foods, monoculture-induced environmental catastrophes, harm to animals, and greenhouse gas emissions — all of which could be alleviated, at least in part, through urban agriculture. In recognition of these changing conceptions of harm, some local governments have begun to pass ordinances expressly allowing gardens, chickens, and the sale of produce in residential areas. I conclude by considering what this movement toward loosening restrictions on the use of private property says more broadly about the decline of Euclidean zoning controls and the future of land use law.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 66

Keywords: locavore, local food, foodshed, zoning, land use, local government, municipal, urban, agriculture, police powers, private property, lawns, yards, gardens, chickens

JEL Classification: I12, I18, K11, K32, L66, N50, O13, O18, P32, Q1, Q18, Q15, R14, R52

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Date posted: March 29, 2012 ; Last revised: January 15, 2013

Suggested Citation

Schindler, Sarah, Of Backyard Chickens and Front Yard Gardens: The Conflict Between Local Governments and Locavores (March 28, 2012). Tulane Law Review, Vol. 87, No. 2, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2030526

Contact Information

Sarah Schindler (Contact Author)
University of Maine - School of Law ( email )
246 Deering Avenue
Portland, ME 04102
United States
207-780-4409 (Phone)
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