What's a Win for Communities? Farmland or Developments?

Beautiful Wayne County farmland, KYWe hosted a "one time book group" last week about Independence Days, a book by Sharon Astyk about why and how to store and preserve food. It's the why that can be troubling. Astyk asserts the wisdom of storing a substantial supply of tasty preserved food and drinkable water, given the volatility and finite store of petroleum for food transport, the intensity of natural disasters, the fading abilities of rescue entities to move quickly when destruction is massive, as well as the scary possibilities of war, famine, and even long-term job loss.

The book can cause middle of the night musings. Most of us who met to talk about it confessed to skimming some parts or jumping frequently from the narrative of why we need to store food to the recipes and sunny descriptions of how we do it. In its mildest form, Independence Days makes a fine case for growing more of our own food in our own yards and in our communities.

One of the thoughtful people at the book group explained that comprehensive land use planning in the Bluegrass could get a lot more complex than it has been. The need to protect land so we can feed ourselves may become part of comprehensive planning considerations.

And then here comes the Wall Street Journal describing ongoing declines in the amount of land available for farming in the San Francisco Bay Area -- from which direction trends and circumstances have a strong tendency to roll eastward. See what you think: Fewer Farms to Feed 'Local' Appetite: Small City Plots Foster a Sense of Agricultural Revival, but Fail to Make Up for the Steady Loss of Farmland in the Region