THE ECONOMIC PAMPHLETEER: Land Use Planning for Sustainable Food Systems
by John Ikerd
http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2011.021.010, pp. 3–5
A sustainable food system must be firmly rooted in the wise use of land. Fortunately, local foods initiatives increasingly involve planned uses of agricultural land. While professional planners, architects, and staff of nongovernmental organizations may all be involved, land use planning begins with decisions made by state and local governments. Effective land use planning requires a public consensus to support making land use decisions on some basis other than economic value. Such a consensus ostensibly exists in most urban areas for residential and commercial uses of land, although economic interests typically dominate actual planning and zoning decisions. Public support for planning and zoning of agricultural land in rural areas is even more tenuous. Lack of a public consensus for wise land use planning could become a major obstacle in the development of sustainable food systems, thus the need for greater understanding of the issue....
John Ikerd is professor emeritus of agricultural economics, University of Missouri,
Why did I name my column “The Economic Pamphleteer”? Pamphlets historically were short, thoughtfully written opinion pieces and were at the center of every revolution in western history. Current ways of economic thinking aren’t working and aren’t going to work in the future. Nowhere are the negative consequences more apparent than in foods, farms, and communities. I know where today’s economists are coming from; I have been there. I spent the first half of my 30-year academic career as a very conventional free-market, bottom-line agricultural economist. I eventually became convinced that the economics I had been taught and was teaching wasn’t good for farmers, wasn’t good for rural communities, and didn’t even produce food that was good for people. I have spent the 25 years since learning and teaching the principles of a new economics of sustainability. Hopefully my “pamphlets” will help spark a revolution in economic thinking.
Banner photos include a Cape Cod cranberry bog; a cranberry “screen house” used to grade fresh cranberries; farmland near Lake Placid, NY, in the Adirondack Mountains; Montmorency cherry trees on the Mission Peninsula of northern Michigan; the historic Round Barn in the South Mountain Apple Belt of Adams County, Pennsylvania; the “Sea of Grapes” district of the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt, near Erie, Penn; a field of cabbages near Shortsville, NY, home to one of the world’s largest sauerkraut factories. All photos copyright by Duncan Hilchey.
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