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Why Local Linkages Matter: Findings from the Local Food Economy Study

Spending involves a choice about the kind of future we want to have. This publication explains why we should care about our spending choices when it comes to food and sustainability. The report provides a new approach to analyzing the economics of the food system, new support for developing strong local linkages, and new strategies for taking action to grow the local food economy. We find that locally directed spending supports a web of relationships, rooted in place, which serves to restore the land and regenerate community.

Keeping Farmland Available for Klickitat County, WA Agriculture: Report to the Klickitat County Commission

Agriculture is a critical industry in Klickitat County producing over $50 million annually in direct crop value and perhaps three times that amount in local economic impacts.

These economic numbers, however, are probably only a small part of the story. No one has yet placed a credible dollar figure on the values these farms contribute to the Klickitat County community that are not reflected in the farm commodity marketplace.

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.

Ecolabel Value Assessment: Consumer and Food Business Perceptions of Local Foods

An ecolabel is a seal or a logo indicating that a product has met a certain set of environmental and/or social standards or attributes. Ecolabels offer one avenue to educate consumers about locally grown, sustainably-raised foods.

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture partnered in a pilot with the Iowa State University Business Analysis Laboratory to conduct consumer and food business market research related to ecolabels.

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.

Skagit County, WA: County Zoning Code

Skagit County has established that new development in agricultural areas must be compatible with agriculture.  The county zoning code includes specific dimensional standards and siting criteria so that new buildings are sited in a manner that minimizes their impact on farms.  Skagit County requires a 35 foot minimum front setback and a 200 foot maximum setback from public roads.  This requirement is intended to prevent siting houses in the middle of productive farmland.  

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.

Bainbridge Island, WA: Accessory Use Ordinance (Retail Sales of Island Grown Crops, Value Added Products and Agricultural Tourism)

An ordinance of the City of Bainbridge Island, Washington, amending the City of Bainbridge Island Municipal Code 18.06, and 18.99, to allow for the year around retail sales of island grown crops, value added products and agricultural tourism as an accessory use in zoning districts where agriculture is a permitted and preferred use.

Mitigation of Farmland Loss

American Farmland Trust (AFT) conducted research to provide the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) with information about programs that practice mitigation of farmland loss across the country. This report contains a brief summary and evaluation of the Farmland Protection Policy Act (FPPA) and case studies that describe the approaches and results
of mitigation efforts in some state and local programs.


Cost of Community Services: Skagit County, Washington

This study demonstrates that protection of agriculture is crucial to the economic well being of Skagit County. Crops produced in the Skagit Valley, including vegetable seeds, berries, potatoes, row crop vegetables, bulbs and flowers, contribute nearly $200 million to the local economy annually. Skagit's famous tuplip festival attracts about one million visitors each spring, generating $65 million in annual tourism revenues.

Measuring Interactions Among Urbanization, Land Use Regulations and Public Finance

This article presents a polychotomous choice-selectivity model to estimate the interactions among urbanization, land use regulations, and public finance in five western states (California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington). Land use regulations in these five states reduced the total developed area by an estimated 12.2% from 1982 to 1992, but increased housing prices between 1.3% and 4.7%, depending on the intensity of land use regulations in a county.

Agricultural Changes and Farmland Protection in Western Washington

Land devoted to farming in the 14 counties belonging to western Washington decreased by 16% between 1982-1992 despite farmland protection strategies due to pressure from population, regulatory and socioeconomic forces. The region, which is undergoing rapid urbanization, is home to small-sized farm operations which sell produce to earn additional income. At present, however, the percentage of farmers who own their land have dropped while the average age of farmers has increased from 51 years in 1978 to 54 years in 1992.

Farmland Protection in Washington State: An Analysis

A survey of all county planning departments in Washington State indicated that protecting agricultural land is a major concern at the county level. Maintenance of the agribusiness sector is the main reason for protecting agricultural land, while the preservation of open space and rural lifestyles was of secondary importance. As a result, most Washington counties have implemented a broad range of farmland protection strategies. However, county governments generally have found these measures only moderately effective in keeping farmland from being converted to nonagricultural uses.


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