Saving Farmland, Growing Cities

AFT's motivation behind its Saving Farmland, Growing Cities program is to reduce the conversion of farmland at the urban edge and promote sound land use decisions. Within this program area, we are committed to delivering a mix of policy recommendations and planning tools that increase community awareness and engagement.  

Our projects include:

  • Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCo) Policy Planning: AFT is currently collaborating with the California Association of Local Area Formation Commissions (CALAFCO) on strategies to promote orderly growth and development based on our recently released State of the Art on Agricultural Preservation report. The report explores the parameters of agricultural land preservation and provides guidance for LAFCos on policies that protect agricultural land while maintaining smart growth. In addition to conducting research, AFT serves as an ongoing partner to LAFCos across the state by providing guidance and technical assistance. Our partners in our work include CALAFCO, The Nature Conservancy, Greenbelt Alliance, the Bechtel Foundation and the Helen K. Cahill Center for Farmland Conservation Policy Innovation.
  • Bay Area Greenprint: Released in 2017, this online mapping tool reveals the multiple benefits of natural and agricultural lands across the region. AFT promotes the use of the Bay Area Greenprint to build farmland preservation and natural resource conservation into policies and plans. Collaborators on the tool include The Nature Conservancy, Bay Area Open Space Council, Greenbelt Alliance, GreenInfo Network and the Bechtel Foundation. 
  • Climate Console: AFT is creating a decision-support suite to assist local communities in facilitating conversation and engagement around climate change mitigation. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the Console is aimed at supporting local officials and community members in protecting California’s working lands and decreasing disproportionate health impacts on vulnerable communities. The Console will include spatial data, training modules, workshops and webinars that equip stakeholders to prioritize protection of agricultural land. The Conservation Biology Institute is a partner in the development of this project.