Full Policy Name:
Topics: Community Food Security, Land Use Regulation, Land Use and Planning
Policy type: Ordinance
Year: 2013

The amendments to Detroit’s Zoning Ordinance define several different types of agricultural operations that are allowed in the city (i.e. aquaculture, aquaponics, compost, farmers’ markets, farm stands, greenhouse, hoop house or high tunnel, hydroponics, orchard, rainwater catchment system, tree farm, urban farm, and urban garden). The amendments also specify which existing zoning classifications will allow urban agricultural land uses by-right or as a conditional use. By-right uses simply require limited review by the city via a permitting process, while conditional uses must follow a more extensive review process that includes submitting a site plan as well as a public hearing process. Additionally, on-site produce sales are allowed at the farm or garden where the produce was grown.

Relationship to food access, food insecurity, or local food economies:

Urban agriculture may improve access to healthy food for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color (Hagey et al. 2012). By legalizing community gardens and urban farms, Detroit is allowing residents with reduced food access to grow healthy and culturally appropriate foods in their neighborhoods. As of 2015, the Detroit Planning Commission has been in the process of developing an ordinance that would amend the zoning code to allow for urban livestock to be permitted throughout the city (Hurley 2016).

Scale of Governance: City
Summary Link: URL
Policy Text Link: URL
Michigan Good Food Charter Priority: Priority 1 - Increase healthy food access & consumption, Priority 6 - Use policy & planning to increase food access

Hagey, A., Rice, S., & Flournoy, R. (2012). Growing Urban Agriculture: Equitable Strategies and Policies for Improving Access to Healthy Food and Revitalizing Communities. PolicyLink: Oakland, CA. Retrieved on August 15, 2015 from LINK.

Hurley, A.K., (2016, June 6). “Detroit Is Designing a City With Space for Everyone,
Including Goats: A comprehensive approach to urban agriculture is rolling out in Motor City.” Next City. Retrieved on October 20, 2016 from LINK.