Request for Proposals to Lease Small Ag Plots at City Farm–San Luis Obispo -CLOSED

Are you passionate about local food and agriculture? Do you have a related project or enterprise that just needs a little bit of space? Now is your chance to implement your dreams in the heart of San Luis Obispo on prime agricultural land. Whether you are a farmer, an entrepreneur, a composter, an educator, an innovator or a foodie, we have space for you! We are building a dynamic, interactive agricultural space and are inviting the San Luis Obispo community to join us.

Application deadline: February 16th, 2014
Selection process: February–March 2014
Leases begin: May 2014
For more information, email:

Submit your application online by completing our form: Ground Lease Application Questions

Or print and mail to:
Attn: Jenna Smith
P.O. Box 3736
San Luis Obispo, CA, 93403

PDF of the application below

What is City Farm? CONTEXT & PURPOSE

City Farm–San Luis Obispo is located on city-owned land, known officially as the Calle Joaquin Agricultural Reserve. It is San Luis Obispo’s first urban farm and consists of approximately 20 acres that borders the west side of Highway 101 [see map below]. The land has been leased to Central Coast Grown (CCG), a local non-profit organization working to ensure that this prime agricultural land remains under production as a part of the city’s Master Plan. Read more about City Farm here.

The majority of the land has been leased to a local restaurateur to produce ingredients for his restaurant.  The remaining land will be divided into small plots, up to 2 acres in size, for individuals and organizations to implement a variety of agricultural, experiential, and educational projects and enterprises. Central Coast Grown has set the following goals for programs on these plots:

  1. Continue agricultural production on historically-farmed land;
  2. Provide opportunities for education about sustainable agriculture to the general public or other audiences;
  3. Incubate private farming enterprises by providing new farmers and farmers-in-training with productive land and marketing opportunities;
  4. Provide a space for experimentation and innovation in farming.



Central Coast Grown will consider a wide variety of projects for these plots.  For example, individuals could start private organic farming operations, entrepreneurs could grow and sell niche crops like herbs or medicinals, schools could teach students how to grow their own food through hands-on lessons, and experimental permaculture or composting techniques could be field-tested for efficacy.  Projects could also involve beekeeping, aquaponics, a children’s garden, seed saving, horticultural therapy, a food forest, or production for local restaurants.  Projects do not necessarily need to produce food crops, but could focus on topics that support food production, e.g., pest management or habitat for pollinators.

Central Coast Grown is also seeking partners we can collaborate with to build the capacity of educational programs at City Farm. We encourage people to offer innovative ideas that will transform City Farm into a place to produce food for the community, by the community in unique ways.



Lessees of small plots at City Farm will have high-quality soil and access to irrigation water from an on-site agricultural well.  Easy access from Highway 101 and Los Osos Valley Road, as well as publicity conducted by Central Coast Grown, will provide exposure for projects, whether the intended audience is the general public, local businesses, restaurants, schools, or other organizations. Participants will also benefit from the network of agricultural resources Central Coast Grown has developed throughout the county, as well as from opportunities to collaborate with other on-site projects.



Different rental scales will apply to commercial and experimental/educational ventures. The rent for each lessee will depend on the acreage requested and the educational benefit or service the proposed project offers to the public and/ or farming community.  Land lease rates for commercial ventures will be guided by fair market land lease values for agricultural row crop land. All applicants can expect to pay water and insurance-related costs. The duration and renewability of the lease will be negotiated separately for each selected project proposal. To facilitate these negotiations, please provide complete information on the Lease Application.



Proposals for community gardens will not be considered.  If agricultural commodities are harvested from the plots, this harvest may not be primarily for personal consumption.  Harvested commodities of marketable quality may be distributed to an educational or charitable organization, or marketed commercially.

The site must be managed in such a way so as not to preclude future tenants from seeking organic certification.

Permanent structures may not be constructed on leased land, although hoop houses or other temporary structures may be permitted.  All structures built during the lease are subject to removal at the end of the lease period.



CCG will select proposals based on the following criteria:

  1. Demonstrated commitment to building a sustainable local and regional food system, which strengthens the connection between local people and locally-grown food;
  2. Potential size and diversity of audience served by the proposal;
  3. Demonstrated ability to cover negotiated rental fees;
  4. Apparent ability to carry out the proposed project. 


City-Farm-Plot-Map 12.16.13




SUMBIT your response online through our form:
Ground Lease Application Questions

or PRINT and snailmail to:
Attn: Jenna Smith P.O. Box 3736, San Luis Obispo, CA, 93403
Request for Proposals Small Plots_Print Version
Ground Lease Application Questions_Print Version

Submissions must be received by February 16th, 2014.