senate Bill S4906A

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Expands the powers and duties of the office of community gardens

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Mar 28, 2012 print number 4906a
amend (t) and recommit to finance
Mar 27, 2012 reported and committed to finance
Jan 04, 2012 referred to agriculture
Jun 24, 2011 committed to rules
Jun 07, 2011 advanced to third reading
Jun 06, 2011 2nd report cal.
Jun 02, 2011 1st report cal.936
Apr 29, 2011 referred to agriculture

Bill Amendments

Original
A (Active)
Original
A (Active)

Co-Sponsors

S4906 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7479A
Current Committee:
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

S4906 - Bill Texts

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

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S4906

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to establishing a
community gardens task force

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill has many purposes. First,
to enact a comprehensive legislative findings that supports the
concept and work of those involved in the community gardens movement.
This is important 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 Agriculture 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
legislative 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
duties of the Office of Community Gardens. 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 pantry's and soup kitchens that provide food for the poor and
disadvantaged.


- 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 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 allow the Office of
Community Gardens, at their own option, to convene a Community
Gardens Task Force if authorized by the Commissioner of Ag. &
Markets. The membership of the Task Force must be no more than 25
members. Further the Task Force can utilize the opinions of various
state agencies such as education, health, environmental conservation,
corrections, and the office of state parks. In addition, the various
state-wide municipal associations can have input into the activities
of the task force. The task force is to 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
justification for this bill.

Article 2-C, that established the Community Gardens Article, 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
activities that could occur within community gardens. This bill
up-dates Article 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 readily available vacant lands that currently exist in
many urban and village centers. The enactment of this bill is long
overdue.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Bill.


FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediate.

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

                                  4906

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 29, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  KLEIN  -- 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  estab-
  lishing a community gardens task force

  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-
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:

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11073-02-1

S. 4906                             2

  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;
  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; AND
  G.  ESTABLISH A COMMUNITY GARDENS TASK FORCE PURSUANT TO SECTION THIR-
TY-ONE-J OF THIS ARTICLE.
  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 to vacant
public land may permit community organizations to  use  such  lands  for
community  gardening  purposes.  Such  use  of vacant public land may be
conditioned on the community organization possessing liability insurance

S. 4906                             3

and accepting liability for injury or damage resulting 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 OFFICE 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  THE  EDUCATION  DEPARTMENT,  DEPARTMENT  OF  ENVIRONMENTAL
CONSERVATION, DEPARTMENT OF  HEALTH,  DEPARTMENT  OF  STATE,  OFFICE  OF
PARKS,  RECREATION  AND  HISTORIC  PRESERVATION,  AND  OFFICE OF GENERAL
SERVICES. SUCH TASK FORCE SHALL INCLUDE MEMBERS THAT REPRESENT COUNTIES,
CITIES, TOWNS, VILLAGES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, OTHER SPECIAL USE  DISTRICTS,
PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICES.
  3. THE TASK FORCE SHALL HAVE NOT MORE THAN TWENTY-FIVE MEMBERS.
  4. THE OFFICE, MAY REQUEST THE ASSISTANCE OF STATE AGENCIES INCLUDING,
BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL
CONSERVATION,  DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION, OFFICE OF STATE PARKS, RECREATION
AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION, AND OFFICE OF GENERAL SERVICES TO  CARRY  OUT
THE WORK OF THE TASK FORCE.
  5. THE TASK FORCE MAY ONLY ACT WHEN THREE-FIFTHS OF ITS MEMBERSHIP ARE
PRESENT.  ALL ACTION OF THE TASK FORCE SHALL REQUIRE AN AFFIRMATIVE VOTE
OF ITS MEMBERSHIP. THE TASK FORCE SHALL  CONVENE  AT  THE  CALL  OF  THE
OFFICE.
  6.  THE  MEMBERS  OF  THE TASK FORCE SHALL RECEIVE NO COMPENSATION FOR
THEIR SERVICES, BUT SHALL BE ALLOWED THEIR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES
INCURRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION.
  7. (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 immediately.

Co-Sponsors

S4906A (ACTIVE) - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A7479A
Current Committee:
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

S4906A (ACTIVE) - Bill Texts

view summary

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

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S4906A

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 findings that supports the concept and work of those
involved in the community gardens movement. This is important 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
Agriculture 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
legislative 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 pantry's and soup kitchens that provide food for the poor and
disadvantaged.

- 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
Commissioner, 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 justification for
this bill.

Article 2-C, that established the Community Gardens Article, 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
activities that could occur within community gardens. This bill
updates Article 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 readily available vacant lands that currently exist in
many urban and village centers. The enactment of this bill is long
overdue.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
New Bill.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
Immediate.

view full text
download pdf
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 4906--A

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             April 29, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. KLEIN, MONTGOMERY, SAVINO -- read twice and ordered
  printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Agricul-
  ture -- recommitted to the Committee on Agriculture in accordance with
  Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- reported favorably from  said  committee  and
  committed  to  the  Committee on Finance -- committee discharged, bill
  amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said  commit-
  tee

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-

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD11073-03-2

S. 4906--A                          2

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-
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. 4906--A                          3

  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
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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