Community Commentary

Pro-agricultural changes needed

The Encinitas City Council election is just days away and many have received a negative robo-call against me that is a sign that some fear the pro-agriculture changes that I’m fighting for.

On the campaign trail, the biggest concerns I hear from residents relate to over-crowding, worsening traffic, and too much density.

Small scale and backyard agriculture can be part of the solution. There are many personal as well as community benefits to agriculture, including reduced dependence on long supply chains (less traffic), allowing landowners to choose farming instead of housing development (less density) and reconnecting us to our land and heritage (higher quality of life).

Landowners make development decisions in the context of the choices allowed by our zoning code. Let’s update those codes to make creative, small-scale agriculture possible. Don’t you want Encinitas to have community gardens, small farms offering U-Pick and Farm-to-Fork dinners, as well as neighborhood fruit stands selling backyard produce?

It’s important to remember the reality that growing food is hard work and costly, especially with current water rates. Few people will grow enough food to put on a lemonade stand for their neighbors to buy. It is fear mongering to suggest that every home will host a market bazaar at the end of the driveway. We have to incentivize agriculture if we want ANYONE to do it.

My effort to encourage backyard food production is currently experiencing pushback from those who prefer that our community drive to the grocery store to buy produce trucked from the central valley and labeled “local” because it doesn’t come from South America.

We can update our codes to encourage local food production, if we have leaders willing to take the political heat and figure out how to make it happen procedurally. I’m willing to do that, and I believe I’m not fighting this battle alone.

The political process is designed for those with the loudest voices to determine the direction of our city. Please stand up for a vision of Encinitas that includes agriculture or we’ll be drown out by those who fear change. We can be a city that embraces our agricultural past and makes it part of our future. Or we can continue the long march away from our land, our history, our legacy, and any semblance of food independence. The choice is ours.

Catherine Blakespear is a candidate for Encinitas City Council.

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9 comments

billy Bob October 31, 2014 at 9:17 am

Catherine, you state: “On the campaign trail, the biggest concerns I hear from residents relate to over-crowding, worsening traffic, and too much density.”
How is the world does backyard farming change any of that? It makes no sense, therefore, I cannot buy your argument. If you want to farm on your 5 plus acres on Rossini Creek, be my guest. But, backyard farming is not going to stop development, and it is naive to think that it is. It is not going to stop traffic or density, as stated by the law. If you are that naive, I have to question your judgement on other matters. Sorry, my vote is going to Graboi. She seems to have a better handle on matters pertaining to MOST residents of Encinitas.

QuestioningYourJudgment October 31, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Urban agriculture ordinances can create opportunities for not-yet-developed parcels that are zoned residential to be used for growing food instead of building houses. Fewer houses, less traffic. That’s how it works. The fact that you can also grow food in already developed neighborhoods is just a side benefit. Now you tell me how voting for Julie Graboi will stop development and traffic. Her solution seems to be reprocessing notebooks full of invalid housing maps. She shows up at meetings, makes her statement and then leaves before the work gets done, so she doesn’t even understand what is being discussed. Blakespear, on the other hand, has put in the time, worked constructively, and offered alternatives that are realistic.

Love to Love Encinitas October 31, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Graboi’s beef with unprocessed surveys is that Encinitas continually pays for new consultant work when old work is ignored – “unprocessed” – and if the maps are invalid, then that’s the City’s product to complain about, not Graboi’s. Way to spin things.

Graboi has shown up for meetings for years to speak and most often stays for the entire meeting. She’s stuck around for hours when others are long gone. She’s done that for years. Blakespear made her first appearances this year after Barth and Shaffer put her up to running. Her first.
Way to spin things.

Encinitas4Real October 31, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Thank you Lisa for your vigorous defense of your puppet candidate. She even signs her missives, With gratitude, just as you do. Or maybe you write them. They do sound self righteous, self-satisfied and sanctimonious just like yours. Just what Encinitas doesn’t need- Lisa and her mini-me. As to the ROBO call I wish I could have heard it. Lots of folks are very concerned about Blakespears rush to deregulate the very protections they value.

Hope for Encinitas October 31, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Nothing against urban agriculture, but to think that this is the antidote for our planned density projects is ludicrous. This is why I will not vote for Blaskpear. It seems like this is the only subject she is comfortable talking about. If she really hear that increase density and traffic are the main concerns, hod does she really plan to tackle the issues. The only candidates that will give developers a run for their money are Cameron and Graboi.

Eco-Enc October 31, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Agriculture as a cure for our density/crowding problems? Interesting tangent. It’s like saying it’s ok to have five story buildings as long as there enough bike racks in front of them. People in Encinitas are not concerned whether or not they can grow vegetables and have chicken in their backyards. Their neighbors should be though! People are too busy trying to hold on a job and make ends meet. They are concerned about traffic, the stress that increase density bring in their life. Blakspear offers no real solutions to our development woes. The is a one issue candidate, and to make it worse an issue that most people could care less about.

Innovate somewhere else October 31, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Agriculture in the modern world is a business and does not belong into residentially zoned districts. We have zoning laws against this, regulations that have worked well for over three decades. Why redefine and subvert the entire concept of agriculture? Nobody is against backyard gardening, or kids setting up a lemonade stand. If you want to do more than that, we have minor use permits that might allow such activities under oversight by the city.

Calling dance studios, wedding chapels, jazz concerts, pottery classes, yoga training, lecture halls, kindergartens, retail markets, etc. “agri-connected” is insane. Any of these would produce MORE noise and traffic in an otherwise quiet residential neighborhood. Operating an opium den, a pet hospital, a beer brewery, or a tractor repair shop would be more closely related to agriculture than any of the above activities.

It seems that the whole Coral Tree Farm fiasco is just a test ground for the Leichtag Foundation, desiring to bring unrelated “innovative” ventures, such as convention centers and religious activities, onto land that has been designated “agricultural in perpetuity.” We wonder if Ms. Blakespear is working in their special interests

Encinitas4Real November 1, 2014 at 8:38 am

If Blakespear is working for Leichtag you can bet it’s NOT PRO BONO!!

Encinitas4Real November 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

Someone told me the ROBO call Blakespear is in such a twit about simply says her law office is in Del Mar, where she attended school all the way through Torrey Pines HS, and that her Urban Ag program would allow 25 chickens, 3 goats and 3 beehives on every property BY RIGHT as well as a farm stand to sell the produce. That’s with NO PERMITS and NO RECOURSE FOR NEIGHBORS. REMINDS US TOO OF THE SMELL! Nothing false or nasty. Just facts she doesn’t want voters to know before tomorrow’s election! Vote Julie and Sheila to preserve the Encinitas we know and love!

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