The most effective farmland protection occurs in partnership with cities and counties. Our best partners are the cities and counties who have recognized the inherent value of the farmland that surrounds their borders, and have taken steps to balance the need for development and farmland. There are many ways jurisdictions can help protect the farms that feed our families, while still providing homes and jobs.
Many California cities, recognizing the need for local, safe, affordable food, have adopted farmland mitigation ordinances. A farmland mitigation ordinance is a tool that acknowledges farmland as a valuable natural resource, by requiring farmland be protected concurrently with development of farmland. In other words, if farmland is built on, other nearby farmland must be prevented from being developed. That prevention can take the form of a financial contribution to the California Farmland Trust (via a fee paid by developers when developing farmland), or placing an agricultural conservation easement on nearby farmland. The administrative burden of a farmland mitigation ordinance is minimal, while the protection it enables is massive.
By considering the need for farmland in their expansion policies, cities, counties, and LAFCOs can help protect this vital natural resource. We urge all agencies, before expanding urban limits, rezoning farmland, or approving development projects to consider the need for farmland to feed the people.
Use the form below to contact us if you are a representative of a city, county, or local agency that would like to demonstrate it values farmland.