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.
MORGAN HILL — Andy Mariani knows the days of his beloved “Andy’s Orchard” farm are numbered. Since his family moved its operation to Morgan Hill from Cupertino — selling a parcel in 1957 that’s now across the street from Apple headquarters — he’s seen development creep in from all sides. What was once 50 acres in the middle of a couple dozen other farming operations is now an island of stone-fruit agriculture, with Mariani as one of the area’s last holdouts.
Each county in the Bay Area has unique agricultural challenges and opportunities based on everything from terrain to political climate. Our new report, HomeGrown: Tools for Local Farms and Ranches, is a collection of tools and best practices that can help overcome the top issues farmers and ranchers face. Best of all, the tools shared in this report can all be adapted to any Bay Area county.
Marin and the Bay Area should do more to protect local ranches and farms that produce local food that ends up on breakfast, lunch and dinner plates across the region, according to a new report. The Greenbelt Alliance, a San Francisco-based open space advocacy group, issued “Homegrown,” a report highlighting some of the issues ranches and farms face in the urbanized Bay Area as they produce food.
Five key actions for overcoming barriers to producing local food in the San Francisco Bay Area are identified in the new “HomeGrown” report released today by Greenbelt Alliance.
Drawn from the experiences of farmers and ranchers in counties from Santa Clara to Sonoma, the “HomeGrown” report calls for stronger farmland protection, more you-picks and farmers’ markets, and policies to stop the loss of land to subdivisions and shopping malls.
On July 21, dozens of environmental allies, farmers, dairymen, elected officials and others spent an evening with Greenbelt Alliance and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau at a jointly-sponsored midsummer mixer in Santa Rosa. Farmers and conservationists face common obstacles in Sonoma County: the loss of agricultural lands and the threat of sprawl development.
Rich with an abundance of Brentwood sweet corn, fine wines, and U-Pick cherries, Contra Costa County farms and ranches are some of California’s most fruitful, contributing nearly $100 million per year to the Bay Area economy. Yet the county has the most open space at risk of development in the entire region: over 18,000 acres or the equivalent of 18 Golden Gate Parks.
Like with many industries, there are several barriers to success for our region’s local agricultural businesses. But Greenbelt Alliance is proving that there are innovative policies that we can use to help local farms and ranches thrive and prevent sprawl developers from paving over our essential farm and ranch lands.