Farm Bureau Accomplishments
In recent years, Farm Bureau has played a pivotal role in a variety of policy discussions impacting local farmers and members.
Cook County Zoning Code
Farm Bureau along with Zoning Committee Chairman Peter Silvestri and the Building and Zoning Department have worked together to develop zoning language regarding agriculture in Cook County. This code amends the Cook County Code of Ordinances, including Zoning to remove limitations regarding the care and keeping of horses and miniature horses. It further states that farms are exempt from the Animals chapter and therefore are not limited by the Zoning Code.
Suburban Cook County Food System Report
Along with government agencies and individuals, Farm Bureau members and staff created a policy document that addresses county-specific challenges for farmers including potential soil contamination, limited outlets for extended seasonal produce sales, competing land uses, and education on alternative farming methods such as vertical farming, rooftop gardens, community gardens, and hydroponics. The report was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Cook County Compost Ordinance Expansion
Under the expanded ordinance, community and urban farms would be allowed to compost limited organic waste, including vegetable food scraps and eggshells in addition to grass and shrubbery clippings. The ordinance ultimately eases burdens to urban and community farms.
Urban Agriculture Amendments to the Chicago Zoning Code
The amendment defined community gardens and urban farm uses and identifies where each use is permitted in an effort to minimize potential impacts on surrounding properties. The changes also allow urban farms to sell compost generated on-site as an accessory activity.
City of Chicago Farm and Garden Compost Ordinance
The ordinance allows landscape waste, such as grass or shrubbery clippings, and food scrapes, such as food scraps and eggshells to be composted by community gardens. It also requires community gardens to register with the City of Chicago at no-cost through an on-line portal. The ordinance creates an Urban Farm Accessory Composting Operation Permit, which enables urban farms to apply for a permit to compost livestock waste in addition to landscape and limited organic waste.
Farm Bureau continues to advocate for policies and programs beneficial to farmer members and the public. For additional information on Farm Bureau’s efforts, please contact the Governmental Affairs Department at 708- 354-3276.