Saturday, October 16 2010 @ 10:47 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
41 million acres of rural land has been permanently lost in the last 25 years to highways, shopping malls, poorly planned sprawl and other development, according to a new analysis by the American Farmland Trust. Of that amount, 23 million acres (an area the size of Indiana) was agricultural land. The rate of recent farmland loss has been an astounding acre per minute.
There has been a resurgence of interest across the country in fresh, healthy, locally grown food. But the farms that supply local food, those closest to our urban areas, are the most vulnerable and tend to be lost the fastest. Moreover, farmland close to the urban/suburban edge is frequently our most productive for supplying food on the tables of American families:
“America’s cities sprang up where the land was the richest. Today, the farms closest to our urban areas produce an astounding 91% of our fruit and 78% of our vegetables, but they remain the most threatened. In addition, many of these at-risk, urban-edge farms are the ones growing fresh food for farmers markets, CSA’s [community-supported agriculture services] and other direct-to-consumer outlets. And our prime agricultural land – the farmland that has the ideal combination of good soils, climate and growing conditions – are being converted at a disproportionately higher rate.”