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9 Tips for Cooperating with Your City

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6. Be Persistent

At regular intervals, have three people from your group address the city council during the public comment session of the council meeting. We also sent the city council regular updates via email. They were short emails that gave links to related urban-farming articles of interest and media coverage of our efforts. Finding the right frequency of communication is a balancing act, and you’ll need to judge your city council’s tolerance. You don’t want to drive them to urban-farm-hating.

7. Educate Your Community

Offer classes, show films, and host a booth at the farmers’ market or other gardening and environmental events. Be sure to invite the city council to participate.

8. Befriend the Media

Make the case for your urban-farming initiative to the media when you have an interesting story. If they’re supportive, they can greatly influence the city council in your favor. Contact the gardening, city government and editorial newspaper writers, as each one will have a different slant on the city-ordinance change.

9. Be Patient

This is the hardest part. Persistence, patience and logic is a good combo for success. Take heart from the Mahatma Ghandi quote: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

About the Author: Rebecca Mumaw is co-founder and president of the Cedar Rapids Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chickens (CR-CLUC) and on the board of directors of the Indian Creek Nature Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is a retired Internet communications professional who now devotes her time to family, garden and environmental concerns.

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