Bay Area Agriculture

Farms and ranches cover 2.3 million acres of the Bay Area’s 3.6 million-acre greenbelt. Yet in a region where we celebrate local food and agriculture contributes $6.1 billion to the economy, farmers and ranchers face a surprising number of barriers including:

  • Land conversions and cost
  • Regulatory challenges
  • Conflicts between landowners
  • New farmer and rancher needs
  • Accessing regional markets
  • Funding

To address these challenges, Greenbelt Alliance created HomeGrown: Tools for Local Farms and Ranches. This report explores creative tools and strategies that are working around the Bay Area and beyond to support local agriculture.

Get HomeGrown

Over the last 30 years, our region has lost 217,000 acres of agricultural land to sprawl development—an area seven times the size of San Francisco. Today, 200,000 acres of Bay Area farm and ranchland are still at risk.

We are working with elected officials, county staff, farmers and ranchers, and other community leaders to shape the proposed agricultural policy of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) in Contra Costa County. This work honors our late board president John Chapman, who worked tirelessly to safeguard the farms and ranches of Contra Costa County. Learn how you can support the Farms and Ranches Forever Initiative here.

We will ensure that the LAFCo policy:

  • Emphasizes the significance of agriculture to Contra Costa County
  • Avoids annexing agricultural lands for urban uses
  • Mitigates any lost farmland by permanently protecting similar remaining farmland
  • Supports the lawful, responsible practices of urban-edge agriculture
  • Serves as an example for other counties on how policy can effectively protect agriculture

Through our work in Contra Costa County, we can spur the entire region to pursue policies that enable farmers and ranchers to succeed. 

Goals

  • Analyze barriers to farming and ranching across the Bay Area
  • Adjusting local government policies so that they both protect the landscape and encourage the economic viability of local farms and ranches
  • Help decision-makers create novel policies in counties where agricultural lands are threatened

Resources

Agriculture

Partners

American Farmland Trust 

Staff Contact: Sara Fain

photo: Zoe Meyers

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