Expanding Our Greenbelts

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. Greenbelt is a land use term for the area of rural, wild, or agricultural land that surrounds 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. 

As an ever more tech-focused and eco-insulated community sets the environmental policy of the San Francisco Bay Area our longstanding stewardship values will be tested. Only by defending the delicate ecosystem of our wildlands and buying the local fruits and farmstead products of small, organic, soil-based farmers will the vibrancy the Bay Area Geenbelt survive.