I hope you are well. I want to let you know about American Farmland Trust’s new report, Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future and accompanying web mapping tool. We are hosting a webinar on Wednesday, July 20 from 2-3:30 p.m. to share results for Virginia.
This report concludes that smart growth – that includes planning for agriculture – and investment in Virginia’s downtowns and main streets must occur now to secure the land that grows our food.
The report models three future scenarios ‘Business as Usual,’ where development remains on its 2001-2016 trajectory; ‘Runaway Sprawl,’ where rising housing costs in metropolitan areas and remote work arrangements increase development pressure in rural areas above the level of ‘Business as Usual’; and ‘Better Built Cities,’ where policymakers and land-use planners deploy a coordinated portfolio of smart-growth policies that reduce sprawl, increase the livability of cities and town, and improve the fiscal health of local governments.
AFT’s research shows that Virginia will face significant loss of the region’s best farmland by 2040. Low Density Residential development specifically poses a serious threat to Virginia because of changing development patterns, especially those that shifted during the pandemic years as people moved out of cities. This will disproportionately impact the region’s most productive, versatile land, threaten the future for small and peri-urban farms and limit opportunities for new and beginning farmers.
We hope you will join us on July 20, and help spread the word to others who may be interested in learning more about these findings. You can register for the webinar here.