We talk about farmland, but don’t protect it well

OlympiaFebruary 21, 2014 

Today’s article on the drought in California heightens the awareness of the need to grow food locally. If our supermarkets can’t get 60 percent of their produce from California, it will need to come from somewhere, and if they are going to other states, we all pay more.

But John Dodge’s article doesn’t take the next step,which is to say, the farmland in Thurston County has been split into smaller parcels and made into homes at an alarming rate. We may say we want to protect farmland, but our laws don’t do it.

We tax the farmhouse at the going rate, not as a farm. County landowners can split up their parcels and sell them to developers, cashing in on growth but leaving the taxpayers to provide the infrastructure, and meanwhile losing land that might have provided us all with food.

Meanwhile, we hear rumblings of those in the county who feel threatened by Agenda 21, a common-sense set of principles that have no legal statutes. My wish: We could all get informed and act as a society that cares about providing for local food, local farmers.

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