In Austin, only 1% of the food we eat is locally grown. You can support the local economy and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient community by starting an urban farm or garden at home, at a local school, or in your neighborhood. If you plan to sell the fruits of your labor, make sure you understand what is allowable under the Urban Farm Ordinance.
Urban Farm Ordinance Overview: Urban farming and market gardens are allowed in all zoning districts. Depending on the location and scale of the farm, certain rules apply:
Urban Farms (one to five acres):
- Sales: Products raised on the farm or produced in Texas may be sold on-site or distributed off-site. A farm-stand is permitted, but may sell no more than 20% of off-farm products.
- Employees: Two employees per acre are permitted in addition to the owner.
- Signs: Signage must be non-electrified and no bigger than eight square feet and no more than four feet above grade.
- Events: The farm may receive up to six temporary permits for events per year.
- Structures: Accessory structures are permitted without a dwelling unit on site.
Market Gardens (no more than one acre):
- Sales: A farm-stand is not allowed, however on-site sales are permitted with a limit of three customers per day.
- Employees: One employee in addition to the owner is allowed.
- Signs: Signage must be non-electrified and no bigger than four square feet and no more than four feet above grade.
- Structures: A dwelling unit must be located on site.
General Guidelines for Both Urban Farms and Market Gardens:
- Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are not allowed. Follow an Integrated Pest Management Plan.
- Follow water conservation rules for watering in accordance with Chapter 6-4 of the City Code.
- If you want to raise livestock, a dwelling is required on-site.
- On-site processing or composting of livestock is not allowed.
- Agricultural education activities do not require a temporary use permit.
- The number of dwelling units allowed on site is determined by base zoning district regulations.
- Maintain the residential character of neighborhood on your lot.
Urban Farm and Market Gardens Compliance Checklist (zero to five acres):
► Apply for a Site Plan Exemption. This changes the land-use designation from single-family to urban farm.
► Apply for a Building Permit. A permit is required regardless of whether or not there will be new construction.
The Development Assistance Center at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road can help. After you have received your certificate of compliance, you’re ready to begin!
Have questions? Contact us!