Policy Summary

This chapter addresses a variety of urban agriculture uses, including ground level and rooftop farms and greenhouses for commercial purposes; aquaculture, aquaponic, and hydroponic farms; composting; keeping of hens and bees; and farmers; markets and farm stands. It allows urban farming activities for commericial purposes to occur in many districts across the city, including residential zones/districts.

Background Information

State Massachusetts
Jurisdiction Name Boston
Jurisdiction Type City,
Population Size 200,000-800,000
Legal Strategies
  • Requires something, sets standards
  • Expressly allows something
Reach Community-wide
Food System Category Grow; Get;
Evidence for Health

This policy may correspond to diet-related strategies identified by the County Health Rankings’ What Works for Health tool, including:

For research on the potential effectiveness, please review the category links above.

We understand that this information is not comprehensive. It also does not include other important forms of evidence such as community members’ lived experiences and practice-based evidence.

Policy Details

Refers to priority populations?

Health-related goal?

Environmental goal?

Soil safety (sec. 89-7)

Economic goal?

Includes findings?

Has a stated intent or purpose?

"The purpose of this Article is to establish zoning regulations for the operation of Urban Agriculture activities and to provide standards for the siting, design, maintenance and modification of Urban Agriculture activities that address public safety, and minimize impacts on residents and historic resources in the City of Boston." Sec. 89-1

Includes definitions?

Section 89-2

Addresses implementation?

Boston Redevelopment Authority may issue regulations to administer (Sec. 89-14). When a Comprehensive Farm Review is required, that is to be conducted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and reviewed/approved by the Inspectional Services Department (see Sections 89-2, definition of "comprehensive farm review" and 89-6).

Enforcement provisions?

Evaluation component?

Requires extra investment?

Code context and ordinance history

Uncodified Article 89 added to Boston's Zoning Code in December 2013. Codified version is availabe on Municode at https://library.municode.com/ma/boston/codes/redevelopment_authority?nodeId=ART89URAG&showChanges=true. Our review showed few, if any, substantial changes between 2013 and the most recent codified version (current through Aug. 8, 2017).


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