What We Do
We who live, work, and relax along the Austin-Bastrop Colorado River Corridor are witnessing an unprecedented transfer of land and resources as growth moves east at record pace. Bastrop Friends of the Land is an all-volunteer effort organized to address local food security and farmland preservation through land-use reform.
The primary mission of Bastrop Friends is to draw attention to these unsustainable pressures of unplanned development and mining, while also inspiring and empowering landowners to take a more active role influencing local land use planning and practices. Without that input, the natural resources and diverse habitat that make this region so productive and attractive will continue to erode and become irreversibly compromised.
The 50-mile stretch of river between the city limits of Bastrop and Austin is a fragile ecosystem of fertile bottomland and riparian habitat. A wildlife corridor that attracts migrating birds, anglers, and hunters, it is experiencing more pressure for recreation as well. Most of the land in the bends is owned by mining companies and absentee owners attracted by the lack of environmental restrictions outside city jurisdictions. The result is an alarming and haphazard fragmentation of residential, commercial and industrial growth that is stressing both the land and its stewards.
Bastrop Friends of the Land is continuing the work by the long-forgotten Friends of the Land movement, a forerunner of the environmental movement. Led by famed writer and farmer writer Loius Bromfield, this network of businesses and landholders helped mitigate the worst environmental crisis in U.S. history that culminated with the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Topsoil erosion from industrial farming practices was the most critical issue facing conservationists of that era. Today, in the fringe counties of Metro Austin, the loss of farmland and natural habitat is ours. Texas leads the nation in designated prime farmland being lost to development and Travis County’s loss ranks second among its counties.
Who We Are
Skip Connett is co-founder of Green Gate Farms and mentor to young farmers. He has served on advisory boards for numerous farm-related agencies and organization including the Texas Department of Agriculture, Austin Community College, and the Texas Center for Local Food. He has presented at national organic farming conferences and written about farming for numerous publications. His journalism career includes speechwriter for two CDC directors, media training for Discovery Communications, and national awards for investigative reporting.
Erin Flynn is co-founder of Green Gate Farms. She is a leader in farm-based education and was a founding member of the Atlanta Food Policy Initiative. She served on the Austin Food Policy Council, presents at national conferences, and is a consultant for agrihood development. Her PR and writing career includes stints at Delta Airlines, the American Cancer Society and Hill and Knowlton in Atlanta and NYC.
Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM)
Keep Bastrop Boring
Margie Crisp --Elgin artist and writer whose work has helped celebrate and protect the Lower Colorado River Basin; her painting of the Whistling Duck on the home page can be found in her book, River of Contrasts: The Texas Colorado.