Farms and ranches cover 2.3 million acres of the Bay Area’s 3.6 million-acre greenbelt. Yet in a region where local food and agriculture contribute $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
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.
Our farms and ranches efforts honor our late board president John Chapman, who worked tirelessly to safeguard Contra Costa County’s agricultural land. Learn how you can support our Farms and Ranches Forever Initiative here.
In 2016 we worked 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. In November, agriculture and open space won important protections when LAFCo adopted an Agricultural and Open Space Preservation Policy. This policy will make it much harder for sprawl to swallow up farmland, ranchland, and natural habitats outside of cities and towns.
Building on this win in Contra Costa County, we can spur the entire region to pursue policies that enable farmers and ranchers to succeed.
- 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
American Farmland Trust
Staff Contact: Brian Schmidt
photo: Zoe Meyers