BALTIMORE (AP) -- Bringing farming back to Baltimore is among the changes proposed in new city zoning laws.

City officials says encouraging farming is one of several ways they are trying to make the city healthier and more livable. Holly Freistat, the city's new food czar, says gardens and urban farms can help encourage healthier eating habits.

Officials also hope to encourage residents to walk more and make streets safer by creating more opportunity for neighbors to socialize. Changes include easing regulation of small businesses in residential neighborhoods, encouraging shops and services within walking distance and banning downtown surface parking lots to encourage public transportation use.

The draft code is to be presented at a series of public meetings beginning Monday.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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