Farmer Al, Frog Hollow Farm

Urge Contra Costa County to Adopt Farm-Friendly Policies

In the last 30 years, the Bay Area has lost 217,000 acres of agricultural land to sprawl development—a total area equivalent to seven San Franciscos. Contra Costa County agriculture contributes $225 million to the local economy. Yet the county has had nearly 20% of its agricultural land paved over since 1990, and much of what’s left is still threatened by imminent development pressure.

The Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo)—which oversees boundary changes such as the annexation of farmland for urban development—is poised to adopt an agricultural policy that will protect productive farms and ranches from sprawl and help local farmers and ranchers thrive.

One strong tool adopted by many other LAFCos is to require permanent protection of some other farmland to partly mitigate the loss of farmland to development. While this does not stop the loss of farmland, it does slow it down. Yolo County requires three acres of farmland to be permanently protected (by purchasing conservation easements on the property) for every one acre lost. Our farmland is at least as precious as the land in Yolo County!

Greenbelt Alliance and our partners helped to position LAFCo to take a strong stand for farms and open space and adopt a mitigation policy. Now we need your help as we approach the finish line.

In the next few months, LAFCo will decide between a weak and a strong policy. Please urge LAFCo to adopt a strong policy that

  1. Mitigates at a three-to-one ratio each acre of farmland lost to development
  2. Uses mitigation funds to permanently preserve agricultural land

We need to act now to protect the Bay Area’s local food culture. Every acre of land lost harms our local agriculture.

Take Action Now

One thing that can be done in every county to support local agriculture: Adopt farm-friendly policies. Download our new report, HomeGrown: Tools for Local Farms and Ranches, for a compilation of innovative tools and best practices to help Bay Area farmers and ranchers stay in business.


Photo: NRCS California via Flickr

2 Comments on “Urge Contra Costa County to Adopt Farm-Friendly Policies

  1. It is crucial to protect our land and our food supply. Development has pushed agriculture further out into the valley where more water is required. In this time of drought and climate change it is crucial to preserve good farmland in less arid areas.

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