By Lisa Brown
Support Saving Farmland
As the Village finalizes documents for purchasing conservation easements on two additional properties with the remaining farmland preservation bond funds, some ask, where does our program go now?
Three things immediately come to mind. We are central to connecting farmers with landowners. (In fact, we did introduce One Gen, currently farming there, to the Trosello fields.) We can help facilitate development plans that include land conservation. We educate landowners about the benefits —tax and environmental— of donating their development rights and placing conservation easements on their land.
While this important work remains to be done, our commission is short one member in spite of at least one qualified application to the administration. This makes doing our job harder. Ostensibly, the reasoning goes that our funds are spent, there is no appetite for passing another farmland bond, and we need to save our bonding capacity to build infrastructure.
In Corrales, farmland is infrastructure. It provides the foundation for continuing agriculture here, which is fundamental to who we are and where we must be headed if we want to preserve the character and economic base of our home. What is a harvest festival without farms? What is our community without a source of local food? What is our environment without open space?
There will always be roads to improve. There will always be equipment to buy. But there will not always be farmland unless we choose to protect it. Instead, there will be fields of single-family houses with garages, demanding our resources.
Two of our most visible and iconic farms remain unprotected. We should act while we can. In fact, our farmland bonds have been more popular with our voters than any of our mayors elected at the same time. We just used our last bond in record time and protected another 26 acres of prime soil as open space forever, adding to the 50 acres conserved by the first bond. We can pass another farmland preservation bond while there is still land and farmers to protect. Why not try?