California

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Strategic Targeting of Agricultural Conservation Easements as a Growth Management Tool

Public and private programs have preserved an estimated 730,000 ha of agricultural land in the United States by acquiring agricultural conservation easements (ACEs) that retire a property’s development rights. ACEs could be a potent tool for smart growth if strategically targeted. This paper attempts to quantify measures of strategic targeting of ACEs as guidance for planners. Evaluating the placement of 157 ACEs in the San Francisco Bay Area of California produced mixed results. Preservation and development of agricultural land were both consistent with general plans.

Establishing Land Use Protections for Farmers’ Markets

Local governments can promote healthy eating and active living in their communities by supporting local farmers’ markets. Local farmers’ markets provide fresh produce to community residents, support small farmers, serve as gathering places, and revitalize community centers and downtown areas. There are many ways that local governments can promote farmers markets.

A Planners Guide to Community and Regional Food Planning: Transforming Food Environments, Facilitating Healthy Eating

Food nourishes us, enriches our celebrations, and sustains life itself. Yet not everyone in the United States has equal access to healthy food. Some of us live in neighborhoods where grocery stores carry a greater variety of potato chips than vegetables, while some of us cannot afford vegetables even when they are available. This report shows how planners can play a significant role in shaping the food environment of communities and thereby facilitate healthy eating.

Weaving the Food Web: Community Food Security in California

Weaving the Food Web is a story of California's food system. It traces the efforts of communities across the state to help people put fresh, healthy food on their tables every day. It describes the kinds of relationships among individuals, families, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies that can make life's most basic necessity accessible at the neighborhood level. And it highlights ways that we, as a state, must align resources, policies, and collective effort to ensure that everybody has the opportunities afforded by food security.

Nutrition Incentives at Farmers’ Markets: Bringing Fresh, Healthy, Local Foods Within Reach

Based on visits and interviews, this report profiles pilot programs that match and expand Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),1 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP), and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) dollars spent at farmers markets.

Food Access and Distribution Solutions: 5 Strategies for Southern California

Through five models of distribution, The Center for Food and Justice (CFJ) bridges the urban and rural divide to create stronger programs that equally serve all communities. This document provides a brief introduction to the five models of distribution CFJ will help develop and implement throughout the next two years. The models and outlines of CFJ’s implementation strategy and broader objectives for each are included.

Alternatives for Future Urban Growth in California's Central Valley: The Bottom Line for Agriculture and Taxpayers, Summary Report

California’s Central Valley is the nation’s most important agricultural resource, producing 250 different commodities worth more than $13 billion a year. The valley’s population is expected to triple between now and the year 2040, putting tremendous pressure on agricultural land and public services. Low-density urban sprawl would consume more than 1 million acres of farmland by 2040 and could reduce the value of agricultural products grown in the Central Valley by about $2.1 billion annually.

Repairing the Local Food System: Long-range Planning for People’s Grocery

This report is intended as an assessment of current conditions in West Oakland, a handbook of successful strategies for achieving food justice, and as a vision plan for the next twenty years. While it is written for People’s Grocery, the West Oakland neighborhood, and the Bay Area agricultural community, the lessons learned here can be applied in many places around the world.

Placer County Foodshed Report

This report is an attempt to highlight the local and regional trends and local food system efforts in Placer County. It is part of an initial set of foodshed assessments being conducted in 3 counties in California—Placer, Alameda and Stanislaus. The California work is part of a national study, “Consumers, Commodities and Communities: Local Food Systems in a Globalizing Environment (NE-185)” in which a partnership of 18 land grant universities throughout the country are collaborating to study local food production,

Farmers' Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities

The purpose of this study is to examine the structure and operation of farmers’ markets in the United States, giving special attention to the legal and regulatory issues that may shape their operation. By looking at the rules and regulations markets use and by considering issues markets experience, it is possible to identify the most important challenges vendors and managers of markets may face. It is also possible to make some common sense suggestions on how markets can best address and resolve issues while maintaining their friendly and relatively informal nature.

The New Mainstream: A Sustainable Food Agenda for California

After 159 in-depth interviews, review of over 700 datasets, consultation with over 50 data managers, deep consideration of key food system topics and general review of dozens more, proposals in the report include:
1. A theory of change for moving the sustainable food system from niche to mainstream
2. A vision for a sustainable food system for California
3. An outline of an implementation strategy for achieving the vision
4. Indicators of success to evaluate progress

California Fresh Start Program Statutes

Introduced in 2005, the California Fresh Start Program provides an additional 10 cents per meal for fruits and vegetables. The law also encourages schools to buy California products when commercially available. As a part of nutrition education, sampling of produce is required, and may include purchase of local products for this purpose. The State Department of Education is provided $400,000 to distribute grants, on a competitive basis, county offices of education or community colleges.

Think Globally - Eat Locally: San Francisco Foodshed Assessment

American Farmland Trust was challenged by the San Francisco Foundation to investigate how and to what extent people in the City could improve their well-being and reduce their global “footprint” by eating locally, say, from sources of food within 100 miles of the Golden Gate. This publication documents our search for answers– those we found as well as those we didn’t–and recommends a broad course of action aimed at enabling San Francisco and neighboring communities to take better advantage of local sources of food and, thereby, also help the agricultural economy of its “foodshed.”

Selling Directly to Restaurants and Retailers

In November, 2002, more than 50 growers, agricultural professionals, and others gathered in the beachside town of Ventura as part of the California Farm Conference, to discuss how to market directly to restaurants and retailers. During a halfday short course led by Kris Pustina, a successful and innovative restaurateur in Ventura, and Mark Mulcahy, well-known marketing consultant, participants discussed the key elements for creating a successful, entrepreneurial relationship with local restaurants and retailers.

Transfer of Development Rights in U.S. Communities

Private ownership of land in the United States comes with a bundle of rights and responsibilities. The bundle of rights usually includes the right to subdivide and develop the land. However, this right can sometimes be inconsistent with other social objectives, such as provision of wildlife habitat, preservation of farmland or certain ecological resources, protection of historically significant areas and scenic views, and prevention of development on highly erodible slopes or in difficult soils.

Paving Paradise: A New Perspective on California Farmland Conversion

California is the leading agricultural state in America and one of the most important food production regions in the world – a food growing paradise. It is also the fastest growing state, adding more than 400 thousand new residents per year. Between 1990 and 2004, the period covered by this report, over a half million acres of California's farmland were paved over, converted to urban uses. As long as the state's population continues to increase, the tide of development will not abate and the Golden State will continue to lose farmland to urban development.

Full Mitigation of Farmland Development: A Proposed Approach

Given the inexorable growth in California's population, the main challenge facing farmland preservation is how to encourage land development that is more efficient - that consumes less land per person - for all uses, residential, commercial and civic. In the Central Valley, for example, for every acre developed, only 8 new residents are being accommodated - an astonishing waste of what is arguably the best farmland on Earth. A mechanism must be found to significantly increase development efficiency, while accommodating the expected population in affordable housing.

Agricultural Vision and Economic Innovation for Suisun Valley

In response to challenges to Suisun Valley’s agricultural industry, the County of Solano (the County) with financial support of the Suisun Valley Fund (the Fund), a joint venture of the City of Fairfield and Solano Irrigation District (SID), hired American Farmland Trust (AFT) to help the farm community articulate a vision of agriculture and identify ways to achieve that vision.

Eroding Choices, Emerging Issue: The Condition of California's Agricultural Land Resources

This report takes assesses California's agricultural resources and identifies four factors threatening the future of agriculture— urban growth, salinity, soil erosion and water supply. The report describes the types of agricultural land affected by each factor, considers the combined effect of these issues, and looks at the extent to which productive farmland in one location can be replaced by land brought into production elsewhere. The report then makes the case for action and offers a menu of policy options to protect the state's agricultural land.

Water Policy and Farmland Protection: A New Approach to Saving California's Best Agricultural Lands

The metamorphosis of some of the world’s finest farmland into suburban sprawl is one of the longest running and most insidious crises confronting the state of California. Without new land-protection strategies, what happened in the Los Angeles Basin and in what became Silicone Valley will be repeated again and again.

The First Lutheran Church Case, "Temporary Takings" and Farmland Protection

The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the First Lutheran Church over Los Angeles County has less serious repercussions on land use planning and regulation, particularly those aimed at farmland protection, than is commonly believed. The concept of a “taking” defines the limit of what government regulators can and cannot do to affect the use of land. Though the concept of a “temporary taking” has been introduced, the definition of “taking” remains the same.

Ranchettes: The Subtle Sprawl

California’s Central Valley is the nation’s most important and most threatened agricultural resource. While the valley’s rich soils make it possible for farmers to produce hundreds of different crops and commodities worth $17 billion each year to the state’s economy, the expected population growth in the valley, from five to 11 million people within the next four decades, threatens the world’s most productive source of food.

Much Ado About Kelo: Eminent Domain and Farmland Protection

In the case of Kelo v. the City of New London, the Supreme Court ruled that the Connecticut city could acquire land by eminent domain to make way for a private commercial development project that implements the city’s economic development plan. Regardless of how this controversial decision is applied, the case has raised public awareness about, and legislators’ willingness to address, eminent domain. Against this backdrop, there is an opportunity for farmland protection advocates to curb condemnation that could result in, or spur, farmland conversion.

Alternatives for Future Urban Growth in California's Central Valley: The Bottom Line for Agriculture and Taxpayers

California’s Central Valley is the nation’s most important agricultural resource, producing 250 different commodities worth more than $13 billion a year. The valley’s population is expected to triple between now and the year 2040, putting tremendous pressure on agricultural land and public services. Low-density urban sprawl would consume more than 1 million acres of farmland by 2040 and could reduce the value of agricultural products grown in the Central Valley by about $2.1 billion annually.

Creating Viable Farms and Ranches: An Economic Development Strategy in Rural and Urban-Edge Communities

Staying profitable when competing against a flood of products produced from four corners of the globe is one of the greatest challenges for farmers and ranchers. To address this challenge, communities that recognize the value of agriculture to the local economy implement land use planning techniques and agricultural economic development tools. By planning for an economically healthy agriculture with pro-farming techniques that are integrated into an overall comprehensive land use plan, urban-edge communities retain the qualities that make them attractive.

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