Monday, February 18, 2013

City Codes Shutting Down our Farm Stand, Workshops and More

I met with Matt O'Reilly this afternoon, Director of Santa Fe Land Use Department.

Mayor Coss had asked him to meet with me, in response to a letter I had sent the Mayor regarding getting a variance to make our farm stand "legal".

Of course, understand that Matt O'Reilly is the chief City codes enforcer.

He kindly explained:

1) a farm stand is NOT allowed on residential zoning in Santa Fe

2) having campers (wwoofers/farm workers) on the property is illegal

3) advertising any kind of events (like our movie night) or workshops via our website is illegal as it brings the public to the property

He asked that any reference to a farm stand, movie nights and workshops be taken off the website.

He suggested the only way we can get a variance to the city codes to allow a farm stand on residential zoning, is by asking a member of the City Council to take up the issue.

We will thus be working closely with the Sustainable Santa Fe Commission and the Santa Fe Food Policy Council to draft a proposal and ask Chris Calvert (District 1) and Peter Ives (District 2) to bring it to the City Council.

I wasn't surprised about being given an earful at the meeting as I knew I was pushing the City codes envelope a bit...

But it was a sad day for me, not so much because the city codes are hindering what we are trying to accomplish, but because two neighbors had sent complaints to Matt's office, raising issues with having a farm in the neighborhood, making outrageous claims that we are having wild parties and have campers all over the property!   We've bent over backward to communicate with all of our neighbors, making sure they are happy and benefiting from the garden's bounty.

Because of these legal hurdles...

We will no longer advertise workshops and movie nights on the blog.

You may want to send us an email (click here) so we can notify you privately as a friend in case we continue having our movie showings.

Because we will not be able to have a farm stand this season, we are going to offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares to 20-30 individuals and families.  Weekly share with be $20.
If interested in our CSA program, please email us ASAP (click here) so we can add you to our waiting list.

If you feel inspired, you can send a letter of support for the farm and the farm stand.  We will be needing community support to go to the City Council.  You can email (email here) your letter or snail mail it to:

Poki Piottin
2255 Paseo de los Chamisos
Apt G
Santa Fe, NM 87505

I feel confident that if indeed the City administration is serious about having a sustainable Santa Fe, it has to change its codes to allow neighborhood farms and farm stands to flourish around the city.

As you all know, it's a lovely thing and it brings the neighborhood together in a magical way.

Thanks a million for all your love and support!

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