Conservation easements on active farmland and preservation of agricultural land close to cities may have co-benefits such as
- Contributing to food security through local production
- Making fresh produce available
- Preserving biodiversity,
- Decreasing carbon emissions by reducing the need to import foods into the community, and
- Helping support the local economy and job market.
Preserving agricultural land can be encouraged through land grants, preservation of farmland, and city government action.
The American Farmland Trust Web site provides seven ways to save local farms and food: http://www.farmland.org/actioncenter/no-farms-no-food/7-ways-to-save-farmland.asp.
The Land Conservation Partnership Land Protection Toolbox has regulatory, voluntary land acquisition, and community planning tools to protect farmland and open space.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that seeks to preserve land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, and ensure livable communities for generations to come. Available at: http://www.tpl.org/.
The Ventura Save Open-Space and Agricultural Resources (SOAR) Ordinance,Ventura County, California, limits urban sprawl and promotes sustainable communities by giving Ventura County citizens the right to vote before development occurs on open space and in agricultural lands within the county. Available at: http://eatbettermovemore.org/sa/policies/pdftext/VenturaCountySOAR.pdf [PDF - 79 KB].
King County Comprehensive Plan provides incentives for farmers and those living in agricultural production zones to continue raising crops for sale, and promotes partnerships with local farmers’ markets to bring healthy produce to the public. The continued use of farmland ensures the strength of King County’s rural heritage, and guarantees a local food supply that requires less energy to pack and ship to market. Available at http://www.kingcounty.gov/property/permits/codes/growth/CompPlan.aspx.