New state law aims to cultivate urban agriculture

A new state law could offer tax breaks to people who start urban farms by pledging to dedicate their land to growing food for 5 years.

Homeowners in Bakersfield decided to utilize their unused yard to produce food.

"We wanted to sort of do something other than have green grass in our back yard," said Mike Hartman. "Everyone has that."

This farm has only produced a single radish so far, but it could be eligible for a tax break under the new law.

It is up to individual cities to decide if they want to offer the tax breaks, but a urban farming enthusiast said Bakersfield and Kern County have always been friendly to urban farming.

"Being that we are an agricultural based community there is a big interest to promote this," said Amber Beeson.

The land at 4th and Eye streets has been turned into a community garden is owned by the city of Bakersfield, but its an example of the kind of property that would be eligible for a tax break under the new state law.

The tax breaks only apply to to parcels that are three acres or smaller. The hope is more vacant lots can be turned into urban farms, increasing a sense of community and reducing eyesores.

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