|Welcome to the May issue of E-news. Click
here to view a version of E-news on the web. Can't wait until
next month's E-news to hear more about farms, food, and the environment?
Check out our Farmland
Report blog where we post regular updates
about our work across the country and in the nation's capital.
Water, Water Everywhere, But …
A new report
calls for a fundamental change in the way scarce water resources are allocated
Because of the state’s semi-arid climate, agriculture and cities are almost
entirely dependent on developed, rather than natural, water supplies. Tension
between environmental interests and agriculture, which uses 70 percent of the
state’s water, has existed for decades.
Now, however, an expert panel
convened by the Public Policy Institute of California is recommending a new
approach. “In California’s
highly altered environment,” their report, Managing
California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation, explains,
“reconciliation—which acknowledges the continued presence of human land and
water uses—is likely to have more promise than restoration that seeks to return
ecosystems to an approximation of their native states.” We applaud this
pragmatic step forward.
Exhibit Celebrates Connecticut’s Community Investment Act
In late April, Sen.
Don Williams highlighted six years of accomplishments through the Community
Investment Act (CIA) at a press conference in Hartford. Describing the
CIA as an "economic engine" that has helped to "sustain the
character, and strengthen the economy, of nearly every town and city in Connecticut," Sen. Williams vowed
to protect the CIA this year from the funding raids that occurred in previous
years, when a
portion of the fund was used to help balance the state budget. The press conference
coincided with a display of 40 success stories—10 for each of the four CIA
sectors: agriculture and dairy; historic preservation; open space; and
Spreading the No Farms No Food® Message
State by State in New
This spring, we
have been joining farmers and other advocates to spread the No
Farms No Food® message among lawmakers in southern New England. State “Ag Days”
represent key opportunities to celebrate agriculture and highlight the
importance of farmland preservation to lawmakers. In Massachusetts, we celebrated Gov. Deval
Patrick’s announcement of appointments to the state’s new Food Policy Council.
we joined with other members of the Working Lands Alliance in stressing the
need for additional bonding for the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. We
are looking forward to May 12, when we will join members of the Rhode
Island Agricultural Partnership, state officials and lawmakers at the Rhode
Island Capitol to unveil a new five-year strategic plan for agriculture in that
Wine and Grocery Store Pairing Could
Help Save Farmland, Promote New York
served up in the state legislature before only to be sent back, but the
proposal to sell wine in grocery stores may have new legs now that advocates
are proposing that 10 percent of the additional state revenue generated be
directed toward farmland protection and the marketing of New York wines. A recent study commissioned
by New Yorkers for
Economic Growth and Open Markets found selling wine in grocery stores would
generate hundreds of millions of dollars through franchise fees and sales tax,
a portion of which could be put to work to save New York farms.
A Fresh Look at Farming in Erie County
Erie County is about as
far west as you can get and still be in New
York. Home to Buffalo,
the state’s second largest city, 22 percent of Erie County’s
land is being farmed. Development pressure on farmland outside Buffalo remains intense
while in the city, urban farms are springing up on abandoned lots. It’s time to
take a fresh look at agriculture in Erie
County. We are
working with the county to update its 15-year-old agriculture and farmland
protection plan. It is the first county in the state to update its plan
using funding from New York’s
Farmland Protection Program.
New Report Highlights Economic
Potential of Local Food Production in Catskills
According to Ground
Up: Cultivating Sustainable Agriculture in the Catskill Region, the
region has the potential to produce significant amounts of locally grown food
to feed people in New York City and beyond. The report, prepared by the
Open Space Institute and the Urban Design Lab of Columbia University’s Earth
Institute, found that demand for locally grown foods in the New York Metropolitan
Region adds up to $866 million annually, while existing local food production
amounts to $147 million in annual sales. Ramping up local food production could
generate millions of dollars in economic activity for the Catskill
County Farmland Protection Scorecard
for the Puget Sound
help of University of Washington students, we are analyzing the county
farmland protection programs in the Puget Sound
basin this summer. We’ll develop a scorecard based on each county's land use
regulations, purchase and transfer of development rights programs, and economic
development initiatives, and we plan to present awards to the best county
programs this fall.
Greenhouse Gas Markets
are working with Climate Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit, to identify Northwestern farmers
interested in sponsoring biodigesters and nutrient reduction projects to
generate greenhouse gas credits for sale in the California climate market. The
initiation of the California
cap-and-trade program in January 2012 is expected to fuel a lively market for
greenhouse gas credits in the west. Our work is part of a larger project to
build a registry of Northwest farmers interested in supplying credits to
multiple conservation markets.
Upcoming Workshops on Conservation
the Willamette Partnership, we
will co-host a workshop for nonprofit leaders involved in conservation market
development in the Northwest on June 15 and 16 in Union, Washington.
The focus will be to develop a common strategy to overcome challenges and
accelerate the development of conservation markets in the region.
Weather Is No Picnic for Farmers
weather got you down? A spring that is wetter than normal can have an impact on
our food beyond cancelling weekend picnic plans. In
Pennsylvania, rain-soaked fields are delaying the planting process for corn
this year which will ultimately impact the quality of milk reaching our tables.
With farmers having a difficult time even getting on their fields, the wet
weather also presents an obstacle for farmers interested in improving
conservation practices through programs like our BMP
Opportunity for a Different Direction in the 2012 Farm Bill?
With the government’s
debt level outlook shifting to negative, cuts to funding for farm and food
programs may be inevitable. “Our
country’s economic situation will be the most significant driver and agent of
change in the 2012 Farm Bill,” explains our president, Jon Scholl. The next
farm bill offers a chance to create an improved safety net for farmers that can
better assure a sustainable agricultural system while safeguarding the
Planning for Landscape Integrity
land will we need to meet 21st century demands? Who will be the farmers and
ranchers of tomorrow? These are just some of the concerns recently addressed at
the National Agricultural Landscapes Forum. This post, the first in a series of reflections related to themes that emerged from the forum, points to the need for
planning strategically, understanding the next generation, and seeking
collaborative opportunities to ensure a sustainable future for our nation’s
Farmland Protection: Past, Present
cultural, environmental and health benefits of our farm and ranch land are
values that have been recognized for generations. Back in 1959, the National
Association of Home Builders proclaimed, “We have learned the hard lesson that
the land is a limited resource.” The
Changing Landscape for Farmland Protection, a feature story in our
recent issue of American Farmland
Magazine, provides examples of people across the country finding innovative
ways to successfully navigate an often challenging farmland protection terrain.
Farmers Markets by the Numbers
the USDA reported more than 6,000 active farmers markets throughout the country
– a 16 percent increase from the previous year! In Farmers
Markets by the Numbers, we break down some of the facts on how farmers
markets are helping consumers connect with farmers and ranchers and strengthen
the local economy. We’ve also opened market manager registration for the 2011 America’s
Favorite Farmers Markets Contest™, a nationwide contest that gives farmers
market customers the chance to vote for their favorite markets and show support
for their local food communities.
|Around the Country
schools in New Jersey were chosen to
receive mini grants from the state’s Department of Agriculture and Rutgers
Cooperative Extension for pilot programs that will help students eat fruits and
vegetables, learn about good nutrition, and promote locally-grown produce.
The Massachusetts Departments of
Agricultural Resources and Transitional Assistance are partnering to provide grants
to farmers markets for the purchase of equipment necessary to process SNAP
(Food Stamp) benefits.
Farmland Trust, a Washington-based
organization that acquires farmland for preservation, will host a tour called “Cultivating
the Next Generation of Farmers,” which will begin on the Delta Farm of Nash
Huber, one of our past Steward of the Land Award winners.
in Belfast, Maine, is showcasing a collection of photographs taken by Hugh
Chatfield, a brain trauma recovery patient who took pictures of farmland along the coast of Maine in an effort to
Support Maine Farmland Trust’s Farm Viability Program.
New York State Senator David Carlucci
(D-Rockland/Orange) has proposed legislation
that would give tax breaks to eateries that source their food from within a
The Ohio State University
and the regional planning commission for surrounding Fairfield County
a study to better understand how a community can best manage its local food
restaurants in Indiana, the
demand for local food can help the regional economy while improving food
quality. But restaurants are not alone—business and schools are also
finding more ways to be a part of the local food network.
Farmland Trust recently embarked on a
campaign to protect 100,000 acres of farmland in the state by 2014.
of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson partnered in
April to tour select Iowa farms.
The trip allowed both directors to speak with farmers who are championing the
use of innovative conservation practices.
ranch family in Potter, Nebraska,
was honored with the prestigious 2011 Leopold Conservation Award for
decades of strong conservation efforts on their cattle farm.
connect consumers and farmers, a group of organizations in California
have developed the 32-page
booklet, “Buy Fresh Buy Local: The Eaters Guide to Local Food.” Serving Butte, Tehama and Glenn
counties, the booklet includes information on everything from farmers markets
to caterers and CSAs.
The Oregon House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources approved
the Oregon Farm to School Act—a bill that leverages state dollars to invest
funds from the federal School Nutrition Programs into buying local produce and
principal at Taking Root US, touts saving
America’s farmland as the next step for local food movements, praising our Connecticut Working Lands Alliance as a leader in
have until May 9 to help us
protect more than 30,000 acres of farmland by voting for Recycling &
Sustainability in a $100,000 green giveaway by Garnier® and EarthShare!