Looking Ahead: The Farms and Ranches Forever Initiative
The local food movement has exploded across the nation, and the Bay Area is the epicenter—yet the Bay Area’s farms and ranches are in jeopardy. Since 1984, we’ve lost 217,000 acres of agricultural land—that’s seven times the size of San Francisco! Today, 200,000 acres of farms and ranches are at risk of being converted to development.
Greenbelt Alliance has long been a champion for the Bay Area’s agricultural lands. In the coming year, we will step up support for our region’s farms and ranches. In 2016, we are releasing HomeGrown: Tools for Local Farms and Ranches. This report presents innovative tools and best practices for protecting agricultural land and helping farmers and ranchers stay in business.
Our new report is just the first step. Also in 2016, we will act on the recommendations in HomeGrown, seeing that they are put in place across the Bay Area. We are starting with Contra Costa County, where county leaders are developing an important agricultural and open-space policy. This policy is an ideal mechanism for integrating the findings from HomeGrown. Greenbelt Alliance’s goal is for the policy to:
- Emphasize the significance of local agriculture.
- Set strong standards to avoid urbanizing agricultural lands.
- Fund permanent protection of farmland.
- Support environmentally responsible practices of farmers and ranchers.
Greenbelt Alliance is the only organization that focuses on the local policies, plans, and programs that govern how our Bay Area lands are used. Given this focus, we are the best organization to bring local leaders and supporters together to protect and sustain the Bay Area’s agricultural landscape.
How Farms and Ranches Forever Affects the Bay Area
Our Farms and Ranches Forever Initiative affects the entire Bay Area. We will share the tools and strategies in HomeGrown with elected officials, county staff, community leaders, farmers, and ranchers. With our Contra Costa County work, we will spur other Bay Area counties to pursue new policies and programs that will better protect farms and ranches and support their economic viability.
- 116,000 acres of grazing land at risk
- 84,000 acres of farmland at risk
Take Action: Support Bay Area Farms & Ranches
You can help us shape agricultural policies around the Bay Area by taking action online or donating to support our Farms and Ranches Forever Initiative. The Farms and Ranches Forever Initiative is dedicated to the memory of our late Board President John Chapman. John was a tireless advocate for Bay Area farms and ranches, especially in his home county of Contra Costa.
Photo: Taylor Hanigosky ©