The Loss of Farmland- Diminishing of Our Food- Part 1

The Loss of Farmland- Diminishing of Our Food- Part 1

The Diminishing of Our Food

As I reflected over the past years about all the changes happening around the world, I decided to write a piece that is long and will be a three part series. I see the unfoldment of all the problems and challenges that producing food is having. It will continue to have, as the loss of farmland continuous to happen. Most importantly, what I see is how the availability of good, chemical free food may becoming scarcer. I contemplate what’s ahead -not necessarily for myself but for our children. The diminishing of our food and how the multiplicity of factors all joined together can have a great impact on what we eat or what will be available for us to eat.

I spent several months distilling this information and making it simple. It will let people know how many factors out there influence our food.  I present you this series:

The Loss of Farmland

My goal is to emphasize the importance of local food production. Encourage more people to get involved in the process. This will help us be better prepared to address food supply challenges, ensuring that people have access to food, regardless of their location.

There are many reasons why farmland has been lost regularly. In recent years, those reasons have increased to such high numbers that I feel we must take immediate action.  I offer a synopsis of many reasons for this and how all of them put together have created an increasing sense of urgency. For us to delay with the concept that something or someone will come along to save us from this direct path to destruction, is just plain foolish.

Influence

As a young child I grew up in Colombia, South America. Upon coming to the US, I realized our customs were different. The greater difference may have been in the way values were taught. These values were usually incorporated into stories or sayings we repeated over and over again. These sayings would bring attention to an event or action that we needed to follow. One particular saying that both my parents repeated frequently over the years was: “soldado avisado no muere en gerra”. This translates to: “A warned soldier doesn’t die in battle”.

In my own life, I think of this phrase often. As a young child I didn’t totally understand the impact of these words.  I lived more in the now and worried little about anything that could happen in the future. It became a saying I sometimes thought about and acted upon in various forms. Sometimes, I would take it seriously.

I am writing about our food in relationship to the continual loss of farmland across the United States and potentially the world. I write this to bring to light the fact that we must act. Hopefully the greater good be spared hardship. To offset the potential hunger that may be faced by the poor, those on fixed incomes, and especially those living in urban areas. To grow your own food purchase ‘Garden the Organic Way’ https://gardentheorganicway.etsy.com

Land sale for development

Urban Sprawl

Urban sprawl is a large culprit near cities. In many cases the land is ideal for farming due to its flatness and multiple acres of land. People want to have that “ideal privacy” subverts the potential use of such farmland. Thus, this prime land will never go back to food production. If anything, it will become a large contributor to non-point source pollution. The application of all sorts of herbicides and insecticides on heavily fertilized, manicured lawns. In addition, a great consumption of energy due to the constant need to keep the lawn cut and maintained. Such lawns are a status symbol of wealth and we give little thought of their impact on the future generations. Alternatives do exist but laws may have to be changed. We need to develop the courage to move against tradition. (Information from census data and the Agricultural Department)

Clearly, a higher density in development is needed as well as alternative plantings to replace lawns. Or we need to simply retrain ourselves to believe that a perfectly manicured lawn is not necessary. The false belief that we can control nature should be dropped in favor of working in cooperation with nature.

Our current attitude toward nature is one of our biggest downfalls.

Urbanization

As our population has grown and the cities and suburbs have increased, farmland has been lost. A study by the University of Illinois states that: “It is estimated that 1.5 million acres of productive farmland are lost every year to urbanization.” In rural areas the unfortunate truth is that small farmers are competing against large corporations for that same land.

Farm has been rezoned and divided into 5 acres parcels for housing

Corporations are able to spend millions, obtain the land and rezone it. Even if it originally had been protected under the 1996 Farm Bill. Decisions are made in boardrooms with the thought of profit. No consideration was given to the overall health of the nation. The long-term impact on society and the world as a whole. People run corporations. When a corporation is reporting quarterly profits, is there a factor that shows the impact of such goods or services on the future generations?  A number that can be gleaned by investors and easily deducted from the so call profit?

Funding for a New Way to Preserve Land

Without singling out any one type of company, can a significant amount of dollars be set aside for soil restoration? Can we develop new ways for farmland preservation and development? Have tighter controls on those rules that are already established as well as incentives for future farmers and the like? This way, once a farm is preserved, it stays that way, with no exceptions. This will prevent the loss of farmland-Diminishing of our food. There will always be good lawyers to argue a case. The people in charge who can potentially be “bought” in order to vote in favor of the developer, corporation or individual. They decide they want to build a great housing complex that will now give you tax revenue. Older farmers are naturally tempted to sell at a much larger profit versus keeping the land as farmland.

There may be funding now for farm preservation but is there funding or a mechanism in place to help those who want to take over these farms? It’s all about privatizing land and creating ownership of something that needs to be available for farming. The concept that I have not seen, but that we desperately need, is where land has a say and food gets produced.

If there is no going back once a farm is set aside. If a new system is set in place that could put farmland as a priority over the future mall, then maybe we will not lose so much farmland. Not to mention all the money that could be had for the investor if they looked for land somewhere else.

Why Farmland is Beneficial for Development

This reminds me of when I worked in Newark, New Jersey setting up community gardens. We cleared the land from rubble, leveled it, brought in compost, etc. The result encouraged the developers to choose those precise sites over the ones right next door, as they were already cleared. But the real culprits were those in charge, who had no vision or wisdom.

They gave no value to the local food source or the sweat equity for work the people had done. They did not see the benefit of the recreation it provided the community. The health benefits due to the increased in both exercise and consumption of fresh vegetables. All this, plus a whole new generation learning about where food comes. The benefit of the intergenerational ties as grandma shows everyone how it is done. Such ties go deeper than any food they harvested. To be continued… see post #2 https://www.gardeningtheorganicway.com/food-for-thought/loss-farmland-diminishing-food-part-2/

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