Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Local Produce Markets

We've had what I consider to be a significant victory for locally grown, healthy food.

The Department of Environmental Health and Zoning Administration have together created a new permitting processes for small farm stands selling locally-grown food. These new "Local Produce Markets" will only require a Temporary Use Permit (from Zoning) and a Plan Review (from Environmental Health). They can have no more than 5 vendors, all of whom must be selling local food that they grew themselves.

Under this new process, each market will only cost $154 to permit the first year, and will be free every year thereafter if their plans don't change substantially. This is a significant reduction from the current process, which costs more than $400 for the first year and over $100 per subsequent year.

The purpose of this change is to provide better access in all parts of our city to nutritious, whole foods. This issue originally came to my attention when one of the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support's "Steps to a Healthier Minneapolis" grantees, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, objected to spending a large chunk of City grant money on City permits for small farm stands in underserved communities. Specifically, the business license required by these small farm stands seemed to be overly burdensome and of questionable necessity. They suggested a process change very similar to what staff has now presented.

This new process will have other advantages, as well. Rather than a large packet of information to fill out, applicants for Local Produce Markets will be given a simple two-sided application. The process is slated to take about ten business days.

Now the work before us is to make sure that small farmers, nonprofits and community groups take advantage of this easier, less expensive permitting regime and establish more Local Produce Markets throughout the City, especially targeted to underserved populations with little access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Here are the details of the proposed new process:
  1. Market applicant completes Joint Zoning/Environmental Health Application for Local Produce Market, provides Site Plan for the location of the market and submits two separate checks or money orders for the following fees: $100.00 for the Zoning Temporary Use Permit $54.00 for the Environmental Health Plan Review.

  2. Development Coordinator (DC) at Minneapolis Development Review counter reviews the completeness of the paperwork submitted and checks them against the checklist for Conditions of Approval for Local Produce Market, which includes:
    Products limited to ONLY locally grown fruits and vegetables
    Vendors limited to ONLY local farmers; no food distributors, food manufactures, meat processors, or other types of vendors
    Maximum of 5 vendors per market
    Conveniently accessible handwashing and toilet facilities

  3. DC forwards completed paperwork and check/money order to Zoning

  4. Zoning reviews the site plan and Temporary Use Permit (TUP) side of the application and approves them if all conditions of approval are met, them it forwards them to EHFS

  5. EHFS reviews application and approves the market if all health & safety requirements are satisfied

  6. EHFS then sends applicant a Local Produce Market Permit

  7. The Local Produce Market Permits and Zoning Temporary USE Permits are renewable every year and there is NO COST as long as nothing has changed from the previously submitted plans.
NOTE: The Joint Zoning/Environmental Health Application for Local Produce Market will be a double-sided document with one page containing Zoning TUP required info and checklist, and the other containing EHFS required info and questions.


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