We have a real problem now in Washington state; especially close to cities where bankers and real estate hacks are turning protected farm easements into horse ranches for the wealthy.
There are very few strong programs in place to protect valuable farm soils in critical service areas, to insure that the resource will be used to grow good food for local markets.
Again, it is part of the blatant corruption of local land use policy.
Western Washington has 1.02 million acres of farmland spread across 17,000 farms, and only 316,000 are harvested cropland. The PCC Farmland Trust is making small headway; the Trust has been able to protect just 13 organic farms comprising 1264 acres.
A New York Times Op-Ed piece – Keep Farmland for Farmers – reminds us that:
“Easements are intended to protect farmland, water, animal habitat, historic sites and scenic views, and so they are successful in keeping farms from becoming malls and subdivisions. But they don’t stop Wall Street bankers from turning them into private getaways, with price tags to match. ”
The PCC Farmland Trust is a small organization taking a different tack: rather than just establishing easements on rural lands, the Farmland Trust also works to place – and keep – farmers on the property to produce food for the local food system. PCC Farmland Trust was founded by PCC Natural Markets as an independent organization, and receives funds from PCC Natural Markets and other companies that donate to the Trust.