The City encourages the use of urban agriculture (or community gardens) after obtaining the appropriate permits. The City provides more than 300 public lots that offer safe public use of land for gardening. The Urban Agriculture ordinance was also recently expanded to allow for community gardens on private property with the property owner's permission.
Agricultural activities allowed in urban settings include the utilization of vacant, undeveloped, or underdeveloped tracts of land within the city for the purposes of agriculture.
Benefits of community gardens:
- Builds a sense of community and place
- Utilizes vacant land and encourages mixed-use development
- Encourages local, home-grown food
- Supports Healthy Cedar Rapids
Starting an Urban Agriculture garden:
- If the property is not vacant, and the land you wish to cultivate is under ¼ of an acre, no permit is required, simply the property owner’s permission.
A Special Use permit for Urban Agriculture is required from the Development Services Department if:
- The lot is vacant
- You will be using more than ¼ an acre of land (roughly 200’x200’) for a lot that has another use
See Special Uses to find an application for an Urban Agriculture Special Use Permit.
The Parks and Recreation department also has garden plots available at three local parks, which citizens can lease for gardening. For information on leasing a garden plot through the Parks & Recreation Department, please contact 319-286-5731.
For questions regarding Urban Agriculture and to obtain an Urban Agriculture permit, please contact Zoning Administration at 319-286-5836.