How to get tax money back: urban farming in DC and Baltimore

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Baltimore joins Washington, DC in providing large tax breaks, and even land, for urban farmers. Learn what those tax breaks are and how to get them.



Baltimore joins Washington, DC in providing large tax breaks, and even land, for urban farmers.

DC council members David Grosso’s and Mary Cheh’s Urban Agriculture and Food Security Act of 2014 (text) passed in December of 2014. DC has been pushing its new program, Sustainable DC, for a while now and this is one of the most impactful results for community members who will now be able to grow fresh produce right where they live. The city will identify 25 vacant lots of 2,500 sq ft to be used for urban farms as well as a 50% tax abatement reduction in property taxes if undeveloped land is leased to a farm.

Now Baltimore looks to be next. In the Baltimore Sun “The bill, sponsored by City Councilman William “Pete” Welch, would provide a 90 percent property tax break for urban farmers who grow and sell at least $5,000 of fruit and vegetables a year.”

That’s huge for Baltimore where the number of farms has grown from 2 in 2008 to more than 13, including a rooftop organization we’ll be looking at soon.

This is coming right on the back of Baltimore city’s spending panel approving $5,000 to help fund a study that will examine the potential to fill Baltimore’s 14,000 vacant lots with flower farms.

Here and here are the full articles in the Baltimore Sun.

If you’re in DC, take a look below how you might take advantage of that tax break. We’ll hold off on showing you how in Baltimore until they vote the bill through:

  • Lease the land for at least 3 years
  • Actively use and cultivate at least 5,000 square feet of the property
  • Dedicate the entire property to agricultural use
  • Respect the prohibition on dwelling units

Interested in one of the city-identified lots? Here are the city’s criteria:

  • DC resident for at least 1 year
  • At least 1 year of successful experience in agricultural production
  • No outstanding fines
  • No outstanding property violations

There is a movement building in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, will you be a part of it?


As we think about Baltimore for urban and vertical farming, please take some time to remember the civil rights struggle that’s happening there as you read.

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5 thoughts on “How to get tax money back: urban farming in DC and Baltimore

  1. Pingback: How to get tax money back: urban farming in DC and Baltimore | The Urban Vertical Project | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  2. Hi Evan …

    reference to the urban farming legislation in DC. I testified on behalf of that legislation before Council Woman Cheh’s Commitee. I had 5 min and put it to good use as you will see here:

    The city has 22 full acres of 20ft high underground (thermally stable) caverns in which we could grow 19 million pounds of sustainable food annually !!!

    Dude, really!

    • I’d seen your testimony before, it’s great! Efforts like that go a long way. How’d you find out about those caverns?

  3. Pingback: How Vertical Farming Would Work In DC | The Urban Vertical Project

  4. Pingback: Local Food News — World | Local Food News

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