Produce Stands Get Permanent Status, Almost

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Produce stands have secured semi-permanent homes in Raleigh neighborhoods, after the Raleigh City Council approved an amendment to the zoning code this week.

Temporary stands selling local fruits and vegetables may now operate seasonally for up to eight months within residential districts.

Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin, who helped spearhead the change in regulations governing produce stands, said the amendment is designed to account for a new focus on local, sustainable agriculture in Raleigh.

“As food innovations have happened, we’ve had to update city ordinances to adapt with the growth of food trucks, LoMo [a mobile farmer’s market that opened last year], et cetera,” Baldwin said. “We extended the period of time that produce vendors could operate so that they could sell goods through the growing season.”

Mobile farm stands selling local agricultural products were previously not allowed to operate for more than 20 days from any one location, subject to the same rules governing the operation of seasonal firework and Christmas tree stands.

Local produce vendor Erin Boltz appealed to the City Council last June to alter these restrictions, claiming that the 20-day limit prevented her from building up and maintaining her clientele.

The new ordinance limits stands to 2,000 square feet, and the majority of all agricultural products sold must be grown and harvested in North Carolina. There will also continue to be limitations on how long mobile produce stands may operate; vendors wanting to sell produce year-round are encouraged to open permanent retail locations.

Baldwin said the change in rules governing produce stands will facilitate the sale of locally-grown agriculture in Raleigh.

“Before now, we had a new focus on growing food and local food, but our ordinances didn’t fit what we were wanting to achieve,” she said.


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