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Preserving the Rural Landscape with Agrarian Urbanism

We don't usually think zoning when considering farmland preservation, but Hazel Borys shares are a few thoughts that may help.
July 28, 2017, 8am PDT | Scott Doyon
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"As the harvest starts to come in here in Manitoba and conversations with my farming friends point to a good yield, I’ve been thinking about how to preserve these lands. Rural communities are often the ones with the greatest constraints, especially when it comes to finances. Without federal support, holistic zoning reform in agrarian places is rare. This, coupled with perverse incentives in lending practices, leaves some of the most valuable assets in North America – highly productive farm lands – with the least resources available for land use reform to protect them."

"These rural lands are incredibly beautiful landscapes – agriculturally, economically, and culturally. However, most parts of the country have reduced their zoning law so that so-called agriculture zones are frequently zoned for 5 acre minimums. These small acreages produce little more than land-consuming hobby farms, with the exception of a few dense crops like pecans and coffee. Otherwise, there is little that can be profitably produced in traditional farming methods on this size of lot."

Borys details ideas on how zoning and finance can support resilience of agricultural land and points to the FBCI Forum in Washington, D.C. in October for a deeper dive.

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Published on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 in PlaceShakers
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