Our conservation community — along with everyone else — is experiencing a lot of turbulence. First, we had the roller coaster ride caused by the great demand for parks and open space as a way to escape being cooped up inside, followed by many agencies having to shut down their parks in the midst of this increased popularity to ensure social distancing.
We had a similar queasy ride with the farmers on our lands protected under POST’s Farmland Futures Initiative. Edible Silicon Valley recently published a fabulous article featuring five POST farm partners who have benefited from the Farmland Futures Initiative: Blue House Farm, Fifth Crow Farm, Andreotti Family Farm, R&R Fresh Farms and Root Down Farm.
Our farmers, who provide food direct to consumers throughout the Bay Area, went from an initial panic that local farmers markets were closing and they might have no place to sell their food, to seeing significantly increased demand for their products as more people have sought out locally sourced food in this time of uncertainty.
In fact, the demand is so great that they are concerned about their ability to have enough product. One Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation had so much interest (more than 200 membership sign-ups in 24 hours) that they had to shut down their new CSA website. For now, this bumpy ride for farmers seems to be headed in a positive direction as they figure out ways to meet this demand.
As the Edible Silicon Valley article highlights, this great demand for locally grown foods shows the importance of a strong local farming community and the critical importance of our Farmland Futures Initiative. When we began this initiative five years ago, we had lost 46% of our farmland since the 1980s. Our goal is to protect an additional 22 farms on the San Mateo Coast, and since we kicked off this initiative, POST has already protected eight. We are more than a third of the way to our goal, but there is still a lot more to do.
The Farmland Futures Initiative provides opportunities to support POST’s overall land conservation work in myriad ways. It gives us the opportunity to strengthen a key conservation partner — farmers — deepening the resiliency of our conservation partner ecosystem. It gives us the opportunity to provide another deeply engaging way — locally grown foods — to connect a broader audience to the importance of conservation. It gives us the opportunity to work with farmers to continue to introduce and improve practices that benefit the environment and strike the right balance between farming and natural resource protection. And finally, it gives us the opportunity to unite critical lands necessary to link and help complete the mosaic of conservation necessary for the careful balance of urban and rural landscapes that make our region extraordinary.
POST will continue its work throughout this challenging time to bring out all the benefits restored natural lands can provide, including locally grown foods, climate change adaptability, flood control, wildlife linkages and habitat, groundwater recharge and recreation. In this way, instead of just surviving this disruptive chapter in all our lives, we will all thrive.
Help protect our local farmland by donating today.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more