California Neighborhood Food Act (AB 2561) Summary of Amendments
Upon Exiting the Senate...
The HOA section of the bill became restricted to backyards and growing food for personal use, not necessarily for sale or donation off site.
Upon Exiting the Assembly...
We are excited to see the Neighborhood Food Act continuing on through the legislative process! The bill was passed out of the Assembly on May 29, by a vote of 53-24. We appreciate all of the phone calls made in support of the bill from individuals and organizations across the state passionate about growing the urban agricultural movement.
In order to secure passage of the bill out of the Assembly, however, Assemblymember Bradford had to make yet another round of changes to the bill, prompted by the opposition. The bill changed the tenant's rights section to allow for landlord approval as to the type and location of any containers used for growing food. While the addition of this language disappoints us, we believe that it does not compromise the intent or the intended effect of the bill, and in fact will still be an important step forward that we will build on in the future!
Along with our partner organizations and individual supporters across the state, we will continue to fight for passage of AB 2561 as one step along the journey to integrate and legalize small-scale, urban agriculture in communities across California!
Upon Exiting the Assembly Local Government Committee...
On Wednesday, April 30 Assemblymember Bradford worked with the Local Government Committee to make some tough decisions to address concerns raised by opponents and some members of the Committee. Assemblymember Bradford agreed to remove the city zoning component of the bill and to make some further adjustments to the tenants’ rights section, limiting the growing space to the backyard. We do not believe the bill would have passed out of the Committee without these agreements.
While we left the Committee hearing with mixed emotions, we are grateful that Assemblymember Bradford ensured this bill would continue forward to protect the rights of tenants and of people living under the governance of homeowners’ associations. Assemblymember Bradford and his staff displayed incredible courage by taking up this bill which we all knew would encounter some significant opposition from a few powerful interest groups. We plan to carry on the fight with our partners throughout the state and advocate for the right to grow food in future zoning legislation. Meanwhile, we have an important bill for tenants rights and HOA member rights to fight for! Onward!
Upon Exiting the Assembly Judiciary Committee...
In the Assembly Judiciary Committee, AB 2561 was amended to limit the tenants rights section to just single family home and duplex rental properties and to just ensuring tenants have the right to grow food for donation or for personal use.
Although this section of the bill still accomplishes some of our goals, making these concessions was a painful decision for supporters of the bill but it was a difficult decision that was made in the face of fierce opposition from the very affluent property owners lobby. The opposition this bill has stirred up makes it extremely critical that you voice your support for the Neighborhood Food Act and encourage your friends, family and community to do the same so that we can keep the bill moving.
In the latest round of amendments we were able to strengthen and clarify language in the section on city and county zoning laws which we believe we can maintain in the bill through the legislative process with your help!
You can view the latest version of the full bill language on the state legislature's website by searching for 2561 here.