If you want to sell food grown on your site area of up to 5 acres, you can have an urban farm or market garden in any Austin zoning district under the Urban Farm Ordinance. You must apply for a Site Plan Exemptionopen_in_new (PDF, 1 MB). This changes the land-use designation from single-family to urban farm.
Apply for a Building Permitopen_in_new. A permit is required regardless of whether or not there will be new construction. After you have received your certificate of compliance, you’re ready to begin.
Depending on the location and scale of the farm, certain rules apply. If your site area is 1-5 acres in size, you have an urban farm and must follow these rules:
- Sales: Products raised on the farm or produced in Texas may be sold on-site or distributed off-site. A farm stand is permitted, but may sell no more than 20% of off-farm products.
- Employees: Two employees per acre are permitted in addition to the owner.
- Signs: Signage must be non-electrified and no bigger than eight square feet and no more than 4 feet above the ground.
- Events: The farm may receive up to six temporary permits for events per year.
- Structures: Accessory structures are permitted without a dwelling unit on site.
If your site area is less than 1 acre in size, you have a market garden and must follow these rules:
- Sales: A farm-stand is not allowed, however on-site sales are permitted with a limit of 3 customers per day.
- Employees: One employee in addition to the owner is allowed.
- Signs: Signage must be non-electrified and no bigger than four square feet and no more than 4 feet above the ground.
- Structures: A dwelling unit must be located on site.
Don't use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Follow an Integrated Pest Management Planopen_in_new.
Follow water conservation rules for watering in accordance with Chapter 6-4 of the City Codeopen_in_new.
General guidelines for both urban farms and market gardens
- If you want to raise livestock, a dwelling is required on-site.
- On-site processing or composting of livestock is not allowed.
- Agricultural education activities do not require a temporary use permit.
- The number of dwelling units allowed on site is determined by base zoning districtopen_in_new regulations.
- Maintain the residential character of neighborhood on your lot.