Some of my readers may know that the Arlington County Board appointed me to the Urban Agriculture Task Force (UATF). The purpose of the group is to “promote agriculture in an urban community.” The goal of the UATF is to: develop an inventory of existing programs and identify gaps; propose a food action plan that includes urban agriculture practices; and identify partners (public and private sector).
Do you have ideas about what topics the Urban Agriculture Task Force should address? If so, you may want to participate in our on-line forum. It is very easy! Just visit the county's Urban Agriculture web page and click on the link to “Task Force Priorities.”
Recently, I spent two Sundays walking around the Farmer’s Market on Columbia Pike and soliciting views on Arlington’s urban agriculture initiative. Folks have told me that they are interested in a variety of programs, such as more community gardens and demonstration farms in Arlington (such as Reevesland). Roof top gardens are also mentioned by quite a few folks.
Of course, many people do mention one part of the charge to the UATF that has received a lot of publicity --- the keeping of backyard hens. As for myself, I have an open-mind on the subject. Several members of the UATF have done research on this topic and I am looking forward to our discussion about this matter. How do you feel about backyard hens? It is never too early to submit your views!
The Task Force is scheduled to submit its report to the County Board in March 2013. Between now and then, however, there will be many opportunities to learn more about this subject. For example, the Committee of 100 will be holding a special forum on December 12, 2012 at 7:00pm at Marymount University. I urge you to become involved in the process.
- The county's urban agriculture page: http://www.arlingtonva.us/portals/topics/UrbanAg.aspx
Mike Nardolilli serves as President of the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, President of the Arlington Outdoor Lab, and as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority.