New State & Local Policies

Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone

By changing the zoning code to permit urban agriculture as a permanent land use, the City of Cleveland catalyzed the creation of its Urban Agriculture Innovation Zone in 2010.  Encompassing 28 acres of vacant land in a “forgotten” inner-city neighborhood, the zone currently includes Rid-All Green Partnership’s urban farm and a farming incubator for local gardeners.  Burten, Bell, Carr Development serves as the Zone’s “facilitator,” a role that encompasses promoting the district, attracting resources, and planning for new development.  Future plans include acquiring additional vacant tracts and developing an Urban Ag Zone Greenhouse Training Program, which will include a food preparation kitchen, a retail store, interior urban gardens, a second aquaponics system, and training for those interested in urban agriculture careers.

Local and Sustainable Purchasing Preference

In 2010, the City of Cleveland adopted a Local and Sustainable Purchasing ordinance, which offers a bid incentive to local producers, local-food purchasers, and sustainable businesses applying for city contracts. Known as the Buy Local ordinance, this policy enables the city to apply a two percent discount on all bids made by businesses that are sustainable, locally-based, and/or purchase 20 percent of their food locally. Preferences can be combined for a maximum discount of four percent.

Building Community Wealth: An Action Plan for Northwest Jacksonville

Steve Dubb and David Zuckerman

This report, prepared by the Democracy Collaborative and submitted to the City of Jacksonville, Florida, highlights key strategic opportunities to leverage existing assets to build wealth in a neighborhood facing concentrated poverty and disinvestment.

Seizing the Moment

Catalyzing Big Growth for Worker Co-ops

In this piece, crossposted from Grassroots Economic Organizing, Hilary Abell summarizes the key conclusions of her recent Democracy Collaborative report, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale, and discusses how her new initiative, Project Equity, will be working within the strategic framework advanced in the report to build support for worker cooperative  economic development in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Read more about Seizing the Moment...

Don’t Call It Anti-Poverty: New Richmond Office Looks to Build “Community Wealth”

Bill Bradley
Next City

Former Democracy Collaborative researcher, Thad Williamson, will soon begin his new job as Director of Richmond, Virginia’s Office of Community Wealth Building, the first municipal office of its type in the nation. Born out of recommendations from Mayor Clinton Jones’ anti-poverty initiative, the Office aims to address the structural causes of poverty that have left 27% of residents in poverty. 

Theory Test

Tina Griego
Style Weekly

Thad Williamson discusses goals for Richmond's Office of Community Wealth Building in an interview with Richmond-based Style Weekly.

Cities at Work: Progressive Local Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class

Joel Rogers and Satya Rhodes-Conway

In a new report from the Center for American Progress, Joel Rogers and Satya Rhodes-Conway of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) outline policies that cities can adopt to become more inclusive and sustainable. The authors espouse democratic organization as a critical component to social equity and wealth creation and highlight the critical linking of anchor procurement strategies and employee ownership, as seen in the Cleveland Model, to strengthen local economies and stabilize communities.

Florida Times-Union: "Leaders working toward 'brighter day' for Northwest Jacksonville's economy"

Beth Reese Cravey
Florida Times-Union

"A group of Jacksonville leaders trekked to snowy Cleveland in February to check out an economic initiative they hope to use as a model for the struggling northwest part of the city. The people behind that Cleveland initiative, a University of Maryland-based nonprofit called The Democracy Collaborative, held a roundtable in Jacksonville on Thursday and Friday to show a larger leadership group what is working in other cities. Local leaders collectively said they intend to follow through for Northwest Jacksonville, where unemployment is more than double that of the citywide rate."

Mayors Innovation Project Summer Meeting

August 20th, 2014 to August 22nd, 2014
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Richmond Grows Gardens

The city encourages the transformation of vacant and underutilized city parcels into productive community or commercial gardens. The program requires groups of people that want to use a parcel to apply for a permit from the city. They are required to buy liability insurance and to show that they have support of the neighbors around the property. Seven gardens have been permitted since the program began in 2012.

Richmond Food Policy Task Force for the City of Richmond, Virginia

In 2011, Mayor Jones organized leaders from local nonprofits, urban farms, and municipal and state governments to establish the Food Policy Task Force. Seeking to increase access to healthy foods and employment opportunities for low-income residents, the task force developed a series of land use, economic development, and health policy recommendations to reduce food insecurity. To date, the city has hired a Food Policy Coordinator who advises local food businesses and nonprofits on collaborative urban agriculture enterprise and provides technical assistance to promote the development of urban farms on vacant, city- owned land.