Land Conservation Grows Farmers
More Success Stories Farther Afield
Working Farm Fund Eyes Austin
A handful of established farmers in the Austin area have found deep satisfaction in training and mentoring the next generation of sustainable farmers. Too often their best and brightest leave this area, however, because they can no longer afford to buy land or housing here.
This rise in farmless farmers coincides with the average age of the American farmer approaching 60 while rural communities face increased inequities in health and wellbeing. Addressing this crisis is the focus of the Conservation Trust’s newest program, the Working Farm Fund, to preserve farmland in fast-growing cities around the country.
Through brokering development rights and offering short-term loans, the fund has helped more than a dozen farmers in Atlanta reach that critical goal of owning their own farm. It has begun purchasing land around Chicago, as well, and recently visited Austin to evaluate if it would be a good fit for the program.
Since founded in 1985, the Conservation Trust has preserved more than 9 million acres around the country, much of it forests and parkland. Its new emphasis on farmland comes at a time when demand for local food continues to climb while food security threatens more communities.
You can learn more here about its success in Atlanta and stay tuned for news about its follow up visits to Austin as the Fund continues to evaluate its next possible location.
Innovation through Legislation
Innovation in farmland preservation is key to balancing the demands of growth in the built environment and the need to protect natural resources with less fragmentation. Here are some examples from around the country:
Inspiration for Bastrop Intervale
The Colorado River Alliance is dedicated to keep the river clean and healthy. It organizes the largest river clean-up in the state
The Colorado River Conservancy focuses on protecting people and land along the river in Travis County.
Environmental Stewardship in a Bastrop-based watershed protection non-profit working to protect our groundwater and aquifers for more than 20 years.
Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM) is coalition of conservation organizations fighting for smarter growth in Central Texas regarding mining.