I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me if Bee Heaven has a farm stand where they can get fresh veggies, or if there’s a place serving local food. Now, finally, it looks like Redland is going to (officially) catch up with what family farmers in other parts of the country have been doing all along. Say hello to agri-tourism!
On March 2, the Miami-Dade County Commission passed three ordinances that would allow zoning changes (effective date March 12) to permit a distillery, bed and breakfast establishments, and value-added products made from locally produced agriculture (think jams, jellies, pickles) and other ancillary uses. Farmer Margie wrote about the ordinances on her blog, and even made the trip downtown to listen to the commission meeting when the ordinances were passed. (You can download the final text of the ordinances here here and here, and read them for yourself.)
Once related laws and regulations are sorted out, expect to see more farm dinners, more local products to eat and drink, more farm stands, and unique places to stay on farms.
Read more about this in The Miami Herald:
Redland farmers get ready to grow agri-tourism
BY LAURA MORALES
Glenn and Christina Whitney are trying to decide how to expand their five-acre Redland farm and produce market into a tourist destination. Should they set up a microbrewery? Open a bed and breakfast? Increase their stock of U-pick fruits and vegetables in small hydroponic planters?
“We don’t close during off-season so we could do a lot more here,” Glenn Whitney said.
With the county pushing to create an agri-tourism hot spot in southern Miami-Dade, the couple could do any of those things.
Concerned about the mounting pressure on growers over the past decade to sell their land for urban uses, county officials have made it easier for those with small farms to attract visitors by emulating the tourism cachet of California’s Napa Valley and New York’s Finger Lakes region.
“If the owners can make money and create jobs, they’ll be more prone to keep their land in agriculture,” said Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Dennis Moss, whose district includes part of the Redland community.
Moss and eight other commissioners sponsored three recently approved ordinances that loosen restrictions on small-scale commercial ventures within the farms. The measures allow small wineries, breweries and distilleries that make drinks from produce grown onsite as well as bed-and-breakfasts with up to six guest rooms.
Growers also will be able to buy each other’s fruits and vegetables and sell products made from them. The measures apply to all unincorporated agricultural area of the county’s southern reaches and to smaller pockets further north.
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/03/23/1542315/redland-farmers-get-ready-to-grow.html
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