Welcome to the September edition of American Farmland Trust's monthly E-newsletter, featuring the latest on farm and ranch land protection, agriculture and the environment, planning for agriculture, local food and more.
Can San Francisco Feed Itself With Local Food?
Could an entire United States city mount its own “Eat Local” challenge, consuming only food grown a relatively short distance from its boundaries? It’s possible, according to a new AFT study that looked at whether the population of San Francisco, California, could be fed from food grown within 100 miles of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. “No place in the United States, and perhaps in the world, is as blessed as San Francisco by an amazing cornucopia of products grown nearby,” says Ed Thompson, California Director and Senior Associate of American Farmland Trust (AFT). “But, the answer to the question is a qualified yes because there are challenges to increasing the production, marketing and consumption of local food.” Read more from the study—unveiled in August at the Slow Food Nation celebration in San Francisco.
57 Programs in 18 States on Target to Protect Farmland
AFT’s annual survey of Local Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easements (PACE)[PDF] programs found that selected local programs spent $159 million to protect 46,974 agricultural acres in 2007. PACE programs compensate farmers and ranchers for permanently protecting their land from future development. To date, local programs have acquired 2,527 easements covering 326,457 acres. This is in addition to the efforts of state-level PACE programs [PDF]. Bob Wagner, AFT’s Senior Director for Farmland Protection Programs, notes that PACE activity at the state and local levels has enabled thousands of communities nationwide to benefit from the economic and environmental contributions of permanently protected farms and ranches.
Head Back to School for Water Quality Trading 101
For as long as we’ve been protecting working farms and ranches, American Farmland Trust has been equally focused on environmental conservation on those lands. Now, with new opportunities for agriculture to help solve the nation’s toughest environmental challenges, we’re initiating important programs across the country. Water Quality Trading is a cost-effective and innovative way to clean up waterways while offering farmers a key role in ensuring safe drinking water. Take our three-part tutorial to find out how these programs work. If you get stuck along the way, be sure to check out our Water Quality Trading Glossary of Terms.
Lesson One: What Is Water Quality Trading?
Lesson Two: How Do Water Quality Trading Programs Work?
Lesson Three: Why Are these Programs Important?
Congress Is Back in Session—In Time to Preserve Funding
It’s September, the kids are back in school, and Congress is back in session---for a few short weeks before they’ll adjourn for the elections. Earlier this summer, the administration sent a memo to Congress proposing cuts through the appropriations process to important conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Farmland Protection Program (FPP), programs that help farmers provide fresh fruits and vegetables to school lunch programs, and more. In the remaining days, we hope you’ll tell Congress to stick with the 2008 Farm Bill funding and keep the important gains for conservation, farmland protection, and fresh local food. .
Around the Country
Candidates for Commissioner in Kent County, Michigan, may have found the winning campaign ticket in farmland preservation.
Ingham County voters approved Michigan’s first county-wide farmland funding measure.
Tennessee will host its first-ever statewide farmland protection summit October 9-10th.
Fourteen New York towns received grants to develop local agricultural and farmland protection plans.
California is poised to pass SB375, which targets sprawl and transportation.
University of Georgia received 2.5 Million in funding to conduct Cellulosic Ethanol Research.
Sixty-five farmers in Indiana received the "2008 River Friendly Farmer" award for using conservation practices on their farms.
American Farmland Trust to host booth at the Homegrown Village in Massachusetts.