Widening Our Greenbelt

In the past two decades, more than two-thirds of new development in the San Francisco Bay Area took place atop agriculturally productive land or within its Greenbelt – a land use term that designates the area of rural, wild, or agricultural lands that surround an urban center. 

While the Bay Area has one of the most rich, productive, and diverse foodsheds in the world, it also has some of the world’s most expensive real estate, currently driving tremendous demand for both affordable housing and commercial development.

Recently, American Farmland Trust and SAGE collaborated to produce a revealing analysis of the San Francisco Bay Area food economy focusing on long-term strategies for resilience.

 The study considered ways to protect the area’s local food system, natural diversity, and agricultural character, noting the challenges from land use demands in an elevated real estate market. One fact highlighted by the report was particularly worrisome. A growing number of financially-strapped small farmers now see more financial benefit in selling their land, than in farming it.

By strengthening the quality and demand for the fruits of organic, soil-based agriculture, and the diverse farmstead products of small scale humane producers we can preserve the quality of our Foodshed. By cultivating our appreciation of the nature of both the wild and cultivated lands around us we can preserve the vitality of our Greenbelt.