Although I appreciate that The Austin Chronicle
has for years been at the forefront in providing progressive reporting of issues, it's unfortunate that in the recent story on HausBar Farms and the Govalle East Austin neighborhood, the writer chose to inject her own personal opinions and conclusions [“Communication Breakdown
,” Food, April 12]. These interjections slanted the story against the neighborhood. The People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources [PODER] and the Govalle/Johnston Terrace neighborhood contact team were pursuing a complaint filed by a neighborhood resident. We addressed the HausBar Farms as a specific zoning issue. HausBar Farms, which is located in single-family zoning, was slaughtering chickens and wholesaling them, which is a commercial use.
It was the city of Austin – not PODER or the neighborhood association – that closed down the operations temporarily. Despite what the story alleges, PODER does not have the power or authority to close down businesses, and that was not our intention.
With the wave of gentrification in East Austin, many of us are concerned about the lack of affordable housing and about retaining our single-family zoning. East Austin, according to the urban farm ordinance, is the only part of town where people can buy one to five acres of land, regardless of zoning, and create urban farms.
I am sure that we can work together to keep urban farms without losing our single-family homes and/or single-family zoned lands. We must work together so that all families are growing their own personal crops and sustaining themselves. We look forward to working with the Sustainable Food Policy Board and the city of Austin Planning Commission and City Council.