Protecting Farms in New York

Want local food? You’ve got to have local farmland.

Our food comes from farmland and we are losing farmland fast. New York State has lost half a million acres of farmland to suburban sprawl since the 1980s, the equivalent of 4,500 farms.

More than 80 percent of the fruits, vegetables and dairy products produced in New York State are grown on farmland directly in the path of suburban sprawl. Furthermore, a Cornell University study found that the state's seven million acres of farmland are only sufficient to feed six million of our 19 million state residents.

We have to stop losing farmland now. Don't let concrete be the last crop.

No Farms No Food: Join the New York Movement

No Farms No Food: Join the New York Movement is a campaign to inspire local food consumers across New York State to protect farmland from being lost to development. The campaign combines online communications tools, such as video, infographics and social media, with in-person interaction at events such as AFT's biennial Harvesting Opportunities in New York conference.

We want to engage 50,000 New Yorkers to take action to save farmland. Our goal is a 70 percent reduction in the loss of farmland to development and the permanent protection of an additional 100,000 acres of agricultural land by 2025 .

Advocacy

From farm fields, town halls and county legislatures across New York to the State Capitol in Albany, AFT works to advance policies and secure funding to support agriculture and protect farmland. AFT leads efforts in New York to draw attention to the loss of farmland and the implications for the state's food security. We highlight the economic opportunities of a food system that more closely connects farmers and consumers.

Planning for Agriculture

New York is a "home rule" state where locally elected municipal boards have primary responsibility for developing land use policies. Too often communities have treated farmland as the vacant land available for development.

AFT helps communities understand that agricultural land is the foundation of their local farm and food economies. We provide towns with strategies for steering development away from irreplaceable farmland and for considering the needs of local farmers and farm businesses during the land use planning process. AFT's Planning for Agriculture in New York: A Toolkit for Towns and Counties highlights 80 towns and counties that have taken proactive steps to protect farmland and keep farming viable in their communities.

Developing Local Leaders

Working with Cornell University, AFT is launching the Local Agriculture and Land Use Leadership Institute. The institute will develop an inspired network of New York leaders engaging local governments to support agriculture. By improving participants' leadership skills and knowledge, the institute will increase the effectiveness of local land use leaders in planning, farmland conservation, and agricultural economic development.