senate Bill S2372

Signed by Governor

Expands the powers and duties of the office of community gardens

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed by Governor
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actions

  • 16 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE
  • 05 / Mar / 2013
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • 06 / May / 2013
    • 1ST REPORT CAL.554
  • 07 / May / 2013
    • 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • 08 / May / 2013
    • ADVANCED TO THIRD READING
  • 29 / May / 2013
    • PASSED SENATE
  • 29 / May / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO ASSEMBLY
  • 29 / May / 2013
    • REFERRED TO AGRICULTURE
  • 13 / Jun / 2013
    • SUBSTITUTED FOR A3743
  • 13 / Jun / 2013
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING RULES CAL.187
  • 13 / Jun / 2013
    • PASSED ASSEMBLY
  • 13 / Jun / 2013
    • RETURNED TO SENATE
  • 06 / Dec / 2013
    • DELIVERED TO GOVERNOR
  • 18 / Dec / 2013
    • SIGNED CHAP.528

Summary

Expands the powers and duties of the office of community gardens.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3743
Versions:
S2372
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Agriculture and Markets Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 2-C §31-f, §31-j, amd §§31-g, 31-h & 31-i, Ag & Mkts L
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
S4906A, A7479A

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2372

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the agriculture and markets law, in
relation to expanding the powers and duties of the office of community
gardens

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill has many purposes. First, to
enact a comprehensive legislative finding that supports the concept and
work of those involved in the community gardens movement. This is impor-
tant as a demonstration to state agencies, municipal governments, and
not-for-profit charitable organizations that the transfer of vacant
lands to be used as community gardens is an important public policy
objective that should be pursued. Second, the bill expands the powers of
the Office of Community Gardens that is within the Department of Agri-
culture and Markets to promote community gardens. These new duties can
be carried out at the option of the Department of Agriculture and
Markets so there is no fiscal impact to this bill.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1: Adds a new Ag. & Markets Law section 31-f to establish legis-
lative findings that community gardens provide significant health,
educational, and social benefits to the general public, especially for
those who reside in urban and suburban areas of this State. Community
gardens help to provide low cost nutritious and fresh foods to the
general public, especially to the disadvantaged and poor; promotes
health and healthier lifestyles by encouraging better eating habits and
increased physical activity, fosters the retention of open spaces in
urban areas of our state's cities and villages, provides inexpensive
community building activities, helps to reduce the incidence of crime,
and engenders a closer relationship between urban residents and nature
and their local environment.

Section 2 & 3: Amends Ag. & Markets Law section 31-g to expand the types
activities that the Office of Community Gardens may pursue. In the
definitional section, it expands what types of activities are considered
to be "garden" activities, expands the definition of "municipality", and
adds a new definition for "state agency" to reduce the verbiage in this
Article 2-c.

Among the new types of activities that the Office may participate in, if
the Office wishes to do so, are the following:

- To assist groups that wish to establish community gardens, the Office
can help to develop a single recommended application form to request a
state agency or municipality to use certain vacant lands for community
garden purposes.

- Assist community garden groups in their activities and encourage the
better coordination of activities between such groups and school garden
programs and local voluntary food assistance programs, such as food

pantries and soup kitchens that provide food for the poor and disadvan-
taged.

- Encourage better communication between and sharing of resources
between community garden groups and the New York Kids Week Program
provided for under the Ag. & Markets Law, and individual farm-to-school
and school garden programs. The purpose of this section is to make a
better connection between the activities of community gardens and the
educational activities of already existing school programs, if such
schools wish to do so.

Section 4: Amend Ag. & Markets Law section 31-i to include municipal
vacant land in addition to state agency controlled vacant land.

Section 5: Adds Ag. & Markets Law section 31-j to authorize the Commis-
sioner, if he or she wishes, to convene a Community Gardens Task Force.
The membership of the Task Force can include appropriate state agencies,
existing community garden organizations, and various municipalities to
solicit input and representation into the activities of the task force.
The task force can look into encouraging the establishment and expansion
of community gardens, encourage cooperation between community gardens
and voluntary food assistance programs, and increase the benefits
provided by community gardens.

JUSTIFICATION: The legislative findings contained in section 1 of this
bill outlines the many social, economic, health, educational benefits
that are provided by community gardens to young and old alike. See
section 1 of this bill which outlines such benefits and the justifica-
tion for this bill.

Article 2-C, that established the Community Gardens, was first enacted
in 1978. It was then re-codified with other sections of the Ag. &
Markets Law in 1986, but with few changes made to this article with
regard to the powers of the Office of Community Gardens or the activ-
ities that could occur within community gardens. This bill updates Arti-
cle 2-C to better reflect the current needs of the community garden
movement and the activities that may be conducted by the Office.

With New York's, and the nation's current economic troubles, it is
important to update the state's Community Gardens Law to better reflect
New York's current economic conditions and needs. First, land use laws
and practices within city, village and suburban areas have changed and
community garden activities need to be better integrated with such
current land use laws, policies, and trends. Second, New York needs to
promote self-help activities that can enhance our communities with
regard to providing better and more healthy foods for young and old
alike, encourage more physical exercise to increase overall physical
well being, provides community residents with a forum in which to
participate in community activities, and encourages the use of the read-
ily available vacant lands that currently exist in many urban and
village centers. The enactment of this bill is long overdue.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S. 4906 - Senate Finance, Passed Assembly

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1st of year in which it shall have become law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  2372

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 16, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  KLEIN, GRISANTI, MONTGOMERY, SAVINO -- read twice
  and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
  on Agriculture

AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to  expand-
  ing the powers and duties of the office of community gardens

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Article 2-C of the agriculture and markets law  is  amended
by adding a new section 31-f to read as follows:
  S  31-F.  LEGISLATIVE  FINDINGS.    THE  LEGISLATURE  HEREBY FINDS AND
DECLARES THAT COMMUNITY GARDENS PROVIDE SIGNIFICANT HEALTH,  EDUCATIONAL
AND  SOCIAL  BENEFITS  TO  THE  GENERAL PUBLIC, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO
RESIDE IN URBAN AND SUBURBAN AREAS OF THIS STATE. FURTHERMORE, IT IS THE
ARTICULATED PUBLIC POLICY OF THIS STATE TO PROMOTE AND FOSTER GROWTH  IN
THE  NUMBER  OF  COMMUNITY  GARDENS AND THE ACREAGE OF SUCH GARDENS. THE
COMMUNITY GARDEN MOVEMENT CONTINUES TO PROVIDE LOW  COST  FOOD  THAT  IS
FRESH AND NUTRITIOUS FOR THOSE WHO MAY BE UNABLE TO READILY AFFORD FRESH
FRUITS  AND VEGETABLES FOR THEMSELVES OR THEIR FAMILIES, PROMOTES PUBLIC
HEALTH AND HEALTHIER INDIVIDUAL LIFESTYLES BY ENCOURAGING BETTER  EATING
HABITS  AND  INCREASED  PHYSICAL  ACTIVITY  BY  GROWING  THEIR OWN FOOD,
FOSTERS THE RETENTION AND EXPANSION  OF  OPEN  SPACES,  PARTICULARLY  IN
URBAN  ENVIRONMENTS,  ENHANCES  URBAN AND SUBURBAN ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
AND COMMUNITY BEAUTIFICATION, PROVIDES  INEXPENSIVE  COMMUNITY  BUILDING
ACTIVITIES,  RECREATION AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE FOR ALL AGE GROUPS, ESTAB-
LISHES A SAFE PLACE FOR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND HELPS  TO  REDUCE  THE
INCIDENCE  OF CRIME, ENGENDERS A CLOSER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN URBAN RESI-
DENTS, NATURE AND THEIR LOCAL ENVIRONMENT, AND FOSTERS GREEN JOB  TRAIN-
ING  AND  ECOLOGICAL EDUCATION AT ALL LEVELS. IT IS THEREFORE THE INTENT
OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE TO FOSTER  GROWTH  IN
THE NUMBER, SIZE AND SCOPE OF COMMUNITY GARDENS IN THIS STATE BY ENCOUR-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD06611-01-3

S. 2372                             2

AGING  STATE  AGENCIES,  MUNICIPALITIES  AND  PRIVATE  PARTIES  IN THEIR
EFFORTS TO PROMOTE COMMUNITY GARDENS.
  S  2.  Subdivisions  2  and  3  of section 31-g of the agriculture and
markets law, as added by chapter 862 of the laws of  1986,  are  amended
and a new subdivision 4-a is added to read as follows:
  2.  "Garden"  shall mean a piece OR PARCEL of land appropriate for THE
cultivation of herbs, fruits, flowers,  NUTS,  HONEY,  POULTRY  FOR  EGG
PRODUCTION,   MAPLE  SYRUP,  ORNAMENTAL  OR  VEGETABLE  PLANTS,  NURSERY
PRODUCTS, or vegetables.
  3. "Municipality" shall mean any county, town, village,  city,  school
district  [or], BOARD OF COOPERATIVE EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, other special
district, OR ANY OFFICE OR AGENCY THEREOF.
  4-A.  "STATE AGENCY" SHALL MEAN ANY  DEPARTMENT,  BUREAU,  COMMISSION,
BOARD,  PUBLIC  AUTHORITY  OR  OTHER  AGENCY OF THE STATE, INCLUDING ANY
PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION  OF  WHICH  ANY  MEMBER  OF  WHOSE  BOARD  IS
APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR.
  S 3. Subdivision 2 of section 31-h of the agriculture and markets law,
as  added  by  chapter  862  of  the laws of 1986, is amended to read as
follows:
  2. The duties of the office shall include:
  a. Upon request, the office shall  assist  in  the  identification  of
vacant  public  land  within  a  given geographical location and provide
information regarding agency jurisdiction and the  relative  suitability
of such lands for community gardening purposes;
  b. Serve as a coordinator on behalf of interested community groups and
the  appropriate state or local agencies to facilitate the use of vacant
public lands for community garden use for  not  less  than  one  growing
season  by receiving and forwarding with recommendation completed appli-
cations to the appropriate STATE OR MUNICIPAL agency. PROVIDED, FURTHER,
THAT THE OFFICE MAY DEVELOP A SINGLE RECOMMENDED APPLICATION FORM TO  BE
USED  BY  COMMUNITY  GROUPS  WHEN  APPLYING TO STATE AGENCIES OR MUNICI-
PALITIES FOR USE OF VACANT PUBLIC LAND FOR COMMUNITY GARDEN PURPOSES;
  c. Support and encourage contact  between  community  garden  programs
already  in existence and those programs in the initial stages of devel-
opment; [and]
  d. Seek and provide such assistance, to the extent funds or grants may
become available, for the purposes identified in this article[.];
  E. ASSIST, SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE CONTACT AND COOPERATION BETWEEN,  AND
THE  COOPERATIVE  SHARING  OF RESOURCES BETWEEN COMMUNITY GARDEN GROUPS,
SCHOOL GARDEN PROGRAMS AND LOCAL  VOLUNTARY  FOOD  ASSISTANCE  PROGRAMS,
SUCH  AS COMMUNITY FOOD PANTRIES, SOUP KITCHENS, AND OTHER COMMUNITY AND
NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE OR DISTRIBUTE FOOD TO THE POOR
AND DISADVANTAGED. SUCH SUPPORT CAN INCLUDE  THE  PROVISION  OF  SURPLUS
COMMUNITY  GARDEN  FOOD  OR  OTHER  AGRICULTURAL  PRODUCTS TO SUCH LOCAL
VOLUNTARY FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS; AND
  F. ASSIST, SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE COMMUNICATION,  AND  THE  SHARING  OF
RESOURCES  BETWEEN  COMMUNITY  GARDEN  ORGANIZATIONS  AND  THE  NEW YORK
HARVEST FOR NEW YORK KIDS WEEK PROGRAM  ESTABLISHED  BY  THE  DEPARTMENT
PURSUANT  TO  SUBDIVISION FIVE-B OF SECTION SIXTEEN OF THIS CHAPTER, AND
INDIVIDUAL FARM-TO-SCHOOL AND SCHOOL GARDEN PROGRAMS.
  S 4. Section 31-i of the agriculture and  markets  law,  as  added  by
chapter 862 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows:
  S 31-i. Use  of state OR MUNICIPALLY owned land for community gardens.
1. Any state agency[, department,  board,  public  benefit  corporation,
public authority] or [commission] MUNICIPALITY with title IN FEE OR OF A
LESSER INTEREST to vacant public land may permit community organizations

S. 2372                             3

to  use  such lands for community gardening purposes. Such use of vacant
public land may be conditioned on the community organization  possessing
liability insurance and accepting liability for injury or damage result-
ing from use of the vacant public land for community gardening purposes.
  2.  State  agencies AND MUNICIPALITIES which have received an applica-
tion for use of public lands for community garden purposes shall respond
to the applicant within thirty days and make a final determination with-
in one hundred eighty days.
  S 5. The agriculture and markets  law  is  amended  by  adding  a  new
section 31-j to read as follows:
  S  31-J. COMMUNITY GARDENS TASK FORCE. 1. THE COMMISSIONER MAY CONVENE
A COMMUNITY GARDENS TASK FORCE TO IDENTIFY AND DEVELOP WAYS TO ENCOURAGE
STATE AGENCIES, MUNICIPALITIES AND  PRIVATE  PARTIES  TO  ESTABLISH  AND
EXPAND COMMUNITY GARDENS AND THE ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED BY SUCH GARDENS.
  2.  THE  TASK  FORCE  SHALL BE CHAIRED BY THE COMMISSIONER, OR BY SUCH
OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT AS  SHALL  BE  DESIGNATED  BY  THE
COMMISSIONER.  THE  MEMBERSHIP  OF  THE TASK FORCE MAY INCLUDE REPRESEN-
TATION FROM APPROPRIATE STATE AGENCIES AND MEMBERS THAT REPRESENT EXIST-
ING  COMMUNITY  GARDENS,  COUNTIES,  CITIES,  TOWNS,  VILLAGES,   SCHOOL
DISTRICTS,  OTHER  SPECIAL USE DISTRICTS, PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND COOPER-
ATIVE EXTENSION SERVICES.
  3. THE COMMISSIONER, MAY REQUEST THE ASSISTANCE OF STATE  AGENCIES  TO
CARRY OUT THE WORK OF THE TASK FORCE.
  4.  (A)  THE  GOALS OF THE TASK FORCE MAY INCLUDE, BUT ARE NOT LIMITED
TO, THE STUDY, EVALUATION AND DEVELOPMENT  OF  RECOMMENDATIONS:  (I)  TO
ENCOURAGE  THE ESTABLISHMENT AND EXPANSION OF COMMUNITY GARDENS BY STATE
AGENCIES, MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS AND PRIVATE PARTIES, (II)  TO  ENCOURAGE
COOPERATION  BETWEEN  THE ACTIVITIES AND OPERATIONS OF COMMUNITY GARDENS
AND PROVISION  OF  DONATED  FOOD  TO  LOCAL  VOLUNTARY  FOOD  ASSISTANCE
PROGRAMS FOR THE POOR AND DISADVANTAGED, AND (III) TO INCREASE THE BENE-
FITS  THAT COMMUNITY GARDENS MAY PROVIDE TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY IN WHICH
THEY ARE LOCATED.
  (B) IN ACHIEVING THE GOALS OF THE  TASK  FORCE,  THE  TASK  FORCE  MAY
CONSIDER  RECOMMENDATIONS THAT: (I) ENCOURAGE THE EXECUTION OF CONSERVA-
TION EASEMENTS BY STATE AGENCIES, MUNICIPALITIES OR PRIVATE  PARTIES  TO
ESTABLISH  OR  PROTECT COMMUNITY GARDENS, (II) ENCOURAGE THE CREATION OF
MECHANISMS TO TRANSFER DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS TO PROTECT  COMMUNITY  GARDENS
OR ENCOURAGE THE DONATION OR LEASE OF LANDS FOR COMMUNITY GARDENS, (III)
DEVELOPMENT  OF MODEL ZONING CODES, LOCAL LAND USE LAWS OR OTHER MUNICI-
PAL POLICIES THAT COULD ENCOURAGE  THE  ESTABLISHMENT  OR  RETENTION  OF
COMMUNITY  GARDENS,  AND  (IV)  ANY  OTHER ACTIVITY TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS
DEEMED APPROPRIATE BY THE TASK FORCE ACCORDING TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS
ARTICLE.
  S 6. This act shall take effect on the first of January next  succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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