Preserving Farmland

Photography By Amy Robb | January 03, 2018
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ben wells farm in st. augustine
Saving local farmland is important for long-term sustainability of our food system.

 

WHY PROTECT FARMLAND?
In Northeast Florida, we are on track to lose 89,000 acres of farmland by 2070, equivalent of half the farmland currently in operation in the region

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
Often the farmland that is most agriculturally valuable – flat, well-drained soils – is also the most desirable for development.
In Northeast Florida, we are losing an average of 2,000 acres of farmland per year, or 5.5 acres per day.
The average farmer is over 58 years old. As they retire, 70% of remaining farmland will change hands in the next 10 years.
Over 1 million people are expected to move to the area by 2040. As population increases, so does the demand for land, putting prime farmland at risk for development.  

WHAT CAN CONSERVED FARMLAND OFFER?
Stewardship: Sustainable practices that protect soil, air, water, and habitat.
Affordability: When development potential is removed, land is more accessible for farmers.
Food Security: So future generations can enjoy north Florida-grown foods.
Economy: 1 county alone generates almost 1 billion dollars in agriculture revenue.

WHY SUPPORT LOCAL FARMERS?
Buying local reduces transport and distribution costs. More of what you pay for food is going to the farmer, ensuring they can earn a living wage. Shifting just 20% of food dollars to local choices more than doubles the amount of money circulating among local businesses. When not purchased locally, the average food on your plate travels at least 1500 miles and emits an average of 10x more CO2.

Special thanks to the North Florida Land Trust, Inc. for the information above. Click here to download a printable, sharable PDF version of our Farmland Infographic.


Sources and Further Reading: 1000 Friends of Florida; PCC Farmland Trust; 2012 Census of Agriculture; CUESA: Cultivating a Healthy Food System; UF |IFAS University of Florida St. Johns County; University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research, Florida Population Studies, Bulletin 171; Why Local Linkages Matter

 

Article from Edible Northeast Florida at http://ediblenortheastflorida.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/preserving-farmland
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