The land of sun, sand and surf has another claim to fame - it’s the nation’s leading farm state.

Walnuts. Dates. Olives. Artichokes. Just a few of the many U.S. crops grown almost exclusively in California.

Much of the state has a Mediterranean climate ideal for growing fruits, nuts and vegetables – a climate found in only four other places in the world.

California's vibrant cities and natural landscapes – from Pacific beaches to rugged mountains and verdant valleys in between – have attracted new residents for decades.

It's now the nation's most populous and fastest growing state. But the popularity comes at a price.

In the last 25 years, California has paved over more than a million acres of land, much of it prime farmland. What's worse, the state's urban areas contain less than 10 people for every acre developed – the very definition of low-density urban sprawl. If current trends continue, another two million acres will be lost by 2050.

We're losing irreplaceable farm and ranch land that grows many of our nation's most beloved foods. We need to act now.

Why are California farms and ranches so important?

What are the challenges?


In California, American Farmland Trust has been on the ground since the 1980s – combating urban sprawl and protecting some of the most productive farmland in the world.

We collaborate on large-scale initiatives that bring together farmers, policy leaders and community advocates to make a difference.

In the state capital, for instance, we spearheaded California Agricultural Vision, a strategic initiative to address the most pressing challenges facing the state's farms and ranches, including farmland loss, agricultural water supplies and climate resilience.

In the San Joaquin Valley, we played a key role in promoting a regional plan called the "Blueprint" that, if carried out by local governments, will save one-third of the farmland that would otherwise be developed.

In the Bay Area, we are working with local partners to expand the regional food system to create economic opportunities for farmers while providing consumers with more fresh local food.

And around the state, our environmental initiatives are helping farmers expand the use of conservation practices that fight climate change, protect water quality and save fertile soils.

Join us.


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California Office Staff