American Farmland Trust

E-News November 12, 2007

Welcome to the November edition of our monthly E-news, featuring the latest on farm and ranch land protection, environmentally and economically sustainable agriculture, planning for agriculture, local food and more.

Take the Tour: Smart Growth Meets Smart Food
Fabbioli Vineyard, VA

Local food sheds throughout the country are full of opportunities (and challenges) for linking farmers to urban and suburban consumers. Attend the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference in February and join our Smart Growth Meets Smart Food Tour of Loudoun County, Virginia, to see how land use, leadership and economic development practices influence local food systems in a fast growing county—with comparisons made to neighboring Montgomery County, Maryland, a national model for farmland preservation. Stops at farms, farm-linked businesses and a local restaurant will connect participants to the people who have grown the region’s food-to-community network.

Keeping Tomatoes—and Many Other Crops—Growing on the Gulf Coast

Heirloom Tomatoes
In Manatee County, an important farming area in southwest Florida, AFT’s recent analysis of local agriculture will help inform future planning decisions in the tomato-producing county, which is losing its rural areas to population growth and sprawling development. "In 2005, 55 percent of the county was farmed. However, if current trends continue, in a few years less than half of the land area will be in agriculture," says AFT economic planner Carl Mailler. AFT’s report may also guide the development of a Rural Land Stewardship Program for the county. "Despite high development pressures, the county has a strong interest in keeping a viable agriculture industry," Mailler says.

Barn with Flag
The Senate floor vote is underway. Call your Senators now to support key amendments for farmland protection and subsidy reform.

Take Action Now

Take Action for Farmland Protection and Subsidy Reform in the Farm Bill

The Senate floor vote is underway. Over the next two weeks, the Senate will be debating several amendments impacting farmland protection, farmers' markets, subsidy payments and renewable energy. Call your senators today and ask them to support farm bill amendments that limit subsidy payments and direct funding to farmland protection and conservation. This is a critical juncture for the farm bill—your continued calls, emails and faxes can help tip the balance in favor of more farmland protection across the country.

Kids Learn to Farm and Get Healthy

Kelsey Siegel, Edible Schoolyard
The Edible Schoolyard program
at Martin Luther King Junior Middle School in Berkeley, California, provides urban public school students with a one-acre organic garden and a kitchen classroom. Using food systems as a unifying concept, students learn how to grow, harvest and prepare nutritious seasonal produce. Watch the AFT Farmcast video of the Edible Schoolyard’s Kelsey Siegel as he talks about the importance of teaching children about their food, where it comes from and how to be good stewards of the land.

Steward of the Land Award Deadline Approaches

Help AFT find the American farm or ranch family most deserving of the 2008 Steward of the Land Award—$10,000 given to a recipient that best exemplifies leadership in protecting farmland and caring for the environment. Submit your nomination online by Monday, December 3rd.

Receive an Autographed Copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle While Supplies Last!

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
"The disappearance of farm culture is very important to me. For this reason, AFT is an organization I clearly support," says author Barbara Kingsolver. For a limited time, AFT is offering a special copy of her bestselling book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, personally signed by the author. This is a book for anyone who cares about farms and food in America. Receive a signed copy by joining our monthly giving club or by making a special one-time donation to AFT. Supplies are limited; get your signed copy today!

Around the Country

AFT’s Farmland Information Center (FIC) has all the resources you need to help protect farms and ranches in your state. Let us know more about you and your needs by taking the FIC’s short survey.

The Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board set a new record in October by securing 7,122 acres of farmland—the most ever approved in a single meeting. 

The Charleston area in South Carolina is long known for cultivating some of America’s most creative chefs and finest restaurants, thanks to its rich agricultural history and diverse farms.

Recognizing that farmland protection is vital to the economic and environmental health of Massachusetts communities, the Patrick administration decided to increase this year’s funding for the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program.

In a new study, the Capital District Regional Planning Commission analyzed what the future could look like for residents of four counties in New York—and what poorly planned growth might cost them.

Copyright 2006, American Farmland Trust. All rights reserved.
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