March 10, 2011; Source: | A new state law in New Jersey will allow nonprofits to buy abandoned properties to turn them into venues for economic development – and, in particular, into urban farms. Abandoned lots have long presented a problem for neighborhoods across New Jersey, acting as a deterrent to neighborhood revitalization. The law provides that “the transformation of excess vacant public lands into vibrant urban farms is a public purpose…and affords these lands exemptions from property taxation”. Says a legislator from Salem, “Urban gardens can help build small businesses, create jobs and turn unproductive properties into centerpieces for an economic revival.”—Ruth McCambridge