Oct 28, 2021 - Food and Drink

Des Moines task force presents "foraging as a human right" resolution

A photo of  people gardening.

The Tiny Fields Project in Minneapolis uses boulevards and alley space to grow vegetables. DSM Food Security Task Force members referenced the program in making its recommendations Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Tiny Fields Project

Harvesting edible plants on public land would be a human right under a proposed resolution presented to the Des Moines City Council Wednesday.

Why it matters: The measure, which was recommended by the city's food security task force, would help provide residents with resources to grow their own food.

  • It may also drastically change the landscape of Des Moines.

Driving the news: The task force, which was created in December, published a report of recommendations for the city Wednesday.

Key takeaways: Des Moines should identify available land throughout the metro that could be used for agriculture and pass an ordinance that specifically allows residents who live near the public right-of-way to plant fruit and vegetable crops there.

  • On-site sales of locally grown produce would be permitted.
  • Animal breeding and processing for personal consumption would be allowed.

The intrigue: Des Moines would set a goal for 30% of the food consumed by residents to be grown within the city by 2050. The goal would double to 60% by 2075, under the recommended resolution.

What they're saying: The city doesn't have problems with people harvesting from public land but it could in the future, task force member Ed Fallon told Axios.

  • Details like signage to protect specific areas from pickers will be necessary, Councilman Carl Voss noted in Wednesday's meeting.

What's next: The task force will continue to meet. Expect more discussion and possible action on some of the group's first ideas in coming months.

Read the full report.


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