More than 10,000 people have joined a popular campaign on Change.org asking the Reno City Council and University of Nevada officials to save one of the only university-owned farms in the U.S. from commercial development.
Wendy Baroli, a Reno-based small farmer, started the campaign on Change.org after the Reno Planning Commission approved a request from the University of Nevada Board of Regents to rezone a section of the farm for commercial development. If approved, a 104-acre section of the Main Station Farm will be sold off to make way for commercial businesses.
“I can’t imagine a more important mission for a university to have than educating new farmers for food safety, food security, and a strong economic future,” said Baroli. “The university’s farm is used to teach hands-on small farm and ranching skills to be used in the new food economy.”
After the Reno Planning Commission voted in favor of the University Board of Regents’ request to rezone part of the farm for commercial development, City Council member Jessica Sferazza filed an appeal, and Baroli launched her online campaign. Farming advocates fear that destroying one section of the farm would set a dangerous precedent to commercially develop other parcels of the Main Station Farm, one of the last open green spaces in the entire city of Reno.
“What this small farmer has accomplished in just one month is remarkable,” said Sarah Parsons, senior organizer at Change.org. “More than 10,000 people have joined this campaign so far, and the support continues to grow by the hour. Change.org is about empowering anyone, anywhere to take action on the issues that matter to them, and it’s been incredible to watch this online petition take off.”
On December 14, residents will deliver the petition to the Reno City Council’s rezoning appeal hearing to decide the farm’s fate.
Live signature totals from Wendy Baroli and Ann Louhela’s petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/save-a-university-farm-from-development