You enjoy Saturday morning walks through the local farmers market and getting your CSA share. You’re a member of the local food co-op because you want to make sure your meat has no antibiotics in it. Yet every day, Iowa loses 25 acres of land to development. That land might be growing the vegetables from your favorite farmer, the meat at your co-op or the honey from a local beekeeper. That land is likely providing the flavorful meals you enjoy at your favorite local restaurant, but that land is at risk the next time the lease expires or the owner needs to sell.
Now, for the first time, Iowans have an opportunity to protect our land to produce healthy food forever.
What will permanently protecting our farms do for us?
- An abundance of healthy fruits and vegetables supplied to our schools, hospitals and nursing homes will have an avalanche of good health effects on our communities. Protecting farmland near our cities and towns will make those foods more affordable and accessible to the general public and engage more young people in questions about where their food comes from.
- Sustainable farming takes chemicals and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) out of the farming operation, reducing stress on our city water treatment systems and eliminating the risk of spray drift or offensive smells for nearby people and property.
- Small farming operations improve our state’s economic viability. A diversity of farming operations in Iowa builds resilience for when prices for corn or soybeans inevitably fluctuate.
- Small, sustainable operations maintain and rebuild the economic and social health of our small communities. Small farmers buy from the local Theisens, Blain’s and Orshelns, use machine repairs shops in our rural communities and rely on their neighbors to buy their products.
- Protected farmland has a lower economic value on the market, because it no longer competes with development or commodity prices, making it more accessible to beginning farmers while facilitating good stewardship for retired farmers.
Please consider organizing a gathering near you. We’ll bring information, answers and great conversation. Volunteer today to begin building connections between SILT and our local and regional food hubs, co-ops, farmers markets and Iowans across the state.