Farms and ranches make up over 60% of our region’s 3.6 million acre greenbelt of open space—making our region a local food hotbed. Our world-class wines, farmers markets, u-pick farms, and restaurants specializing in local cuisine help to make the Bay Area amazing.
The motivations for eating locally are diverse—from taste, to health, to the environment. But there is one common fact about everyone in the Bay Area that craves local food—we rely on the farms and ranches of our region to give us what we love.
Today our farms and ranches are at risk. Only 27% of the region’s ranch lands and 13% of Bay Area farms are permanently off limits to development.
Making matters worse, many famers and ranchers operate at the edge of economic viability. These economic struggles can make the idea of converting a farm or a ranch into sprawl development more enticing to the owner of agricultural land.
By shaping the rules that govern how our region grows Greenbelt Alliance defends the Bay Area’s agricultural landscape. We advocate for policies and funding programs that protect agricultural land and that help farms and ranches be economically viable. We bring expertise on preserving farms and ranches to shape agriculture-friendly land use policies. We work with decision-makers across the Bay Area to put tools in place that help agriculture thrive. We mobilize Bay Area residents to help us take action where they live, ensuring that decision-makers know that their constituents want them to make decisions that preserve the region’s agricultural identity. We also support the right kinds of development within our cities and towns to meet the Bay Area’s need for housing, make neighborhoods great places to live, work, and play, and reduce pressure to develop over Bay Area farms and ranches.
We’ll achieve our goals by:
- Ensuring city and county governments, and regional agencies, put in place land-use plans and policies that protect agricultural land and that help farmers and ranchers thrive economically;
- Supporting investment in the Bay Area’s food system and efforts to fund the protection of farms and ranches with tools such as agricultural conservation easements;
- Stopping sprawl development proposals that threaten to consume Bay Area agricultural lands.
Did you know: Solano County is one of the most agriculturally productive counties in the Bay Area. In 2008, the county renewed the “Orderly Growth Initiative” which greatly limits the ability of the County government to permit sprawl development on agricultural lands. Greenbelt Alliance was instrumental in ensuring the reauthorization of the Orderly Growth Initiative.
photo: Zoe Meyers ©