I am going to largely regurgitate some talking points I got from Food Security Partners, but know that I Fully Endorse them.. Basically, there's a movement in Nashville to make community gardening more accessible and legal. What's that, you say? It's not legal now? Nope:
Current law prohibits community gardening as a primary use of lots in residential districts. This means that neighbors who join together to use a vacant plot of land to grow vegetables for themselves or for donation to a food bank or church are in violation of the zoning code, even when they grow on their own land or with permission from the land owner.
Furthermore, current law prohibits growing fruits, vegetables, or flowers for sale in any of Nashville’s urban services district.
There's a bill, however, that's gonna be in front of the planning commission today at 4PM. It proposes:
An ordinance amending Title 17 of the Metropolitan Code, Zoning Regulations, by amending Chapters 17.04, 17.08, and 17.16 to add community gardening as a permitted use, a use permitted with conditions, or a special exception use in certain zoning districts, all of which is more particularly described herein (Proposal No. 2009Z-013TX-001).
This is pretty cool. I'm having a hard time imagining reasons that this wouldn't be a good idea. CSAs are nice, but they can be high on commitment and risky -- and there's less opportunity for involvement by the participants. (Some people that buy CSA shares do go help out on the farm, but this I'd guess this isn't practical for most people -- at least, it isn't for me). And on the opposite end of the spectrum, a home garden just isn't very efficient.
If you can't make the meeting (because, for example, you are busy attending Centresource's Awesome Mixer), you can also email Planning Commission members by using this address (email@example.com) and/or use the following form to voice your support of Community Gardens to your Council Member: http://www.nashville.gov/council/feedback.aspx