Harris legislation gives agriculture place in urban communities
INDIANAPOLIS – Legislation authored by State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago) to revitalize urban communities through agricultural opportunities today heads to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.
The bill will ease the creation of urban agricultural zones. These spaces open up properties typically reserved for urban development to be used in the cultivation, processing and distribution of food. As a result, Hoosiers will not only have hands-on opportunities to learn the science behind farming and food production, but the landscape of their communities will become greener through the development of unused lots.
“Farming doesn't end at the city limits,” Harris said.
“Right now, a lot of cities have these lots that just sit there, empty and taking up valuable space. We can turn those lots into urban agricultural zones and put them to work filling up our food pantries, teaching our students STEM skills and providing farm-to-table produce for our local restaurants and grocers.
“I've presented the wide-reaching benefits of this legislation a number of times and they all add up to a stronger economy in not just our urban communities, but Indiana as a whole. This is a solid first step on our road to economic recovery after COVID-19, and I'm eager to see how our urban landscapes evolve in the years to come.”
The bill received overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, with the bill passing each chamber with nearly unanimous votes. Multiple Republicans from both the House and the Senate joined Harris as sponsors and co-authors of the bill.
“Agriculture is a defining feature of Indiana,” Harris added. “It connects all Hoosiers no matter what side of the aisle they sit on.
“Throughout this process, I've sat down and had constructive conversations with both my Democratic and Republican colleagues to make sure this legislation does what we need it do to. That kind of dialogue is invaluable to the legislative process and I look forward to doing that again as my other legislation makes its way through the General Assembly.”