SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A new California program aimed at promoting community gardens and urban farming and to give them stability will take effect in the new year.

Assembly member Phil Ting said it will also benefit property owners.

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“The goal is really to transform vacant lots that are blights into city treasures like this. It’s really to offer property owners a choice to maintain their properties as agriculture. We would see the assessments drastically reduced,” he said.

To be eligible for the program the property must be a vacant lot less than three acres with a lease for a community garden or an urban farm for five years.

Cities and counties would be allowed to assess land based on agricultural land values rather than the highest and best use, which would lower the property tax assessments tenfold

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Caitlyn Galloway who started Little City Gardens on a three quarter of an acre lot in San Francisco’s Mission Terrace neighborhood said the biggest challenge has been land tenure and that this program will be a valuable tool.

“We still have a long way to go to make firms and cities just a sort of common place, you know, addition to the urban landscape, but I think this is a great start,” she said.

The program begins in 2014.

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