Small Town News


Council eases agriculture rules

The Camp Verde Journal of Camp Verde, Arizona

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The Town of Camp Verde often promotes its identity alongside an agricultural lifestyle.

Last week, the Town Council expanded opportunities for agritourism, which is "the act of visiting a working farm, ranch, agricultural or horticultural agribusiness for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement of visitors to experience a rural lifestyle," according to the town.

The definition includes different uses of land, like self-pick farms, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, barn dances, wine tastings and bird watching.

Before last week, there were restrictions in the town's code about where these types of activities could take place.

The original rules were established in 2011, Community Development Director Michael Jenkins said.

They restricted activities to land designated agricultural.

There are no such properties inside the town's limits, according to Jenkins.

Before last week, properties needed to be at least five acres to qualify as agricultural zoning.

Despite the requirements, the community development office's report noted that several smaller parcels of land were already being used for agricultural purposes.

"We began to look at possibilities for people who don't have five acres of land," Jenkins said.

The new rules governing agricultural use of land require at least two acres.

"If they do not meet that or the original stipulations for approval that permit can be voided," Jenkins said.

Cat Davis is the co-owner of the Fish's Garden, a local hydroponic fish and plant establishment.

Davis said that her business has held classes on aquaponics and has attracted people to Camp Verde from all over the world.

"We talk all about being agricultural," Davis said. "It's time to get serious about it."

The Fish's Garden greenhouse is growing 24 different varieties of lettuce and can produce more than 70 heads of lettuce a day.

The 3,000 square-foot greenhouse is home to a labyrinth of pipes circulating air and water throughout the operation.

Several large blue 500-gallon tanks sit on a raised platform, where hundreds of fish swim together.

About 150 fish are kept in each of the tanks and when they are ready, they are sold.

The waste produced is diverted into a system that uses bacteria to break down the waste into nutrients that plants thrive on.

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Original Publication Date: July 1, 2015

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