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SECTION 31-J
Community gardens task force
Agriculture & Markets (AGM) CHAPTER 69, ARTICLE 2-C
§ 31-j. Community gardens task force. 1. The commissioner shall
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
representation from appropriate state agencies and members that
represent existing community gardens, counties, cities, towns, villages,
school districts, other special use districts, public authorities and
cooperative extension services. Membership of the task force shall
include at least two representatives from organizations dedicated to the
promotion, expansion or protection of community gardens.

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, (iii) to increase the benefits
that community gardens may provide to the local community in which they
are located, (iv) to encourage cooperation with community-based
organizations to increase the opportunities for seniors, those aged
sixty years of age or older, to participate in community gardens, (v) to
encourage the expansion of the production of fresh fruits and vegetables
in areas served by community gardens so that such fresh produce can be
consumed locally to help encourage healthier life styles and wellness,
and to help reduce the incidence of adult and childhood obesity, (vi) to
develop after school programs that establish, maintain and expand
community gardens, and (vii) to encourage the development and expansion
of community gardens in food deserts as defined in section two hundred
sixty of this chapter.

(b) In achieving the goals of the task force, the task force may
consider recommendations that: (i) encourage the execution of
conservation 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 municipal 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.

5. The task force shall submit a report to the governor and the
legislature on or before January first, two thousand twenty-three and on
or before January first of each fifth year thereafter on the status of
community gardens in New York state. Such report shall include:

(a) the number, nature and geographic location of community gardens;

(b) a description of the costs, benefits and impacts of community
gardens;

(c) an assessment of the successes, failures and barriers in
developing, maintaining and expanding community gardens;

(d) lists of funding sources available to develop and expand community
gardens along with the requirements for obtaining the funding;

(e) an assessment of the funding, requirements and barriers for double
the number of existing community gardens;

(f) a discussion of the goals outlined in subdivision four of this
section and a description of the steps and projects undertaken to meet
the goals for the task force as established in this section;

(g) an action plan for doubling the number of community gardens in the
state of New York;

(h) recommendations for developing, maintaining and expanding
community gardens in food deserts; and

(i) any other recommendations or assessments the task force deems
appropriate for the report.

Between report due dates, the commissioner shall maintain the
necessary records and data required to satisfy such report requirements
and to satisfy information requests received from the governor and the
legislature between such report due dates.