Agriculture


Why Is This Important?
Farmland—or working landscapes—can provide economic, environmental, and quality of life benefits. Locally grown food maintains its freshness and nutritional value, contributes to the county’s food security, and can also reduce transportation-related air pollution and costs. Controlled grazing helps minimize soil erosion and control invasive weeds. Organic farming practices are especially important for maintaining agricultural vitality because they reduce the harmful environmental and health effects of pesticides and protect long-term soil quality.

 

What Is a Sustainable State?
A sustainable state is one where agriculture is economically viable for both owners and laborers and agricultural practices conserve natural resources
and biodiversity, maintain healthy soils and ecosystems, and provide food security for local communities.

How Are We Doing?

  • According to the San Mateo County: 2006 Agricultural Crop Report, the gross production value of all crops in the county was $169 million, a slight increase from 2005. Adjusted for inflation, however, this is a 41 percent decline from 1997.

Data source: San Mateo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures

  • Floral and nursery crops generated 80 percent of the county’s crop production value, down from 86 percent in 2005. Vegetable crops increased from 8 to 14 percent of total value. The partial reopening of the county’s largest mushroom farm was the primary reason for the change.
  • Nineteen percent of the county’s land is agricultural. Ninety percent of the county’s cultivated land was used for field crops (beans, grain, and hay) or pasture. The remaining farmland was used for vegetables, fruit, nuts, floral, and nursery crops.
  • In 2006, less than 1 percent of the county’s cultivated agricultural land was farmed organically, with only eight farms totaling 153 acres.
  • In 2006, the number of farmers’ markets in the county increased by one to 14.


Data source: San Mateo County Department of Agriculture/Weights and Measures

Agricultural Awareness Ordinance
In October 2007, San Mateo County passed the Agricultural Awareness Ordinance which states the “declared policy of this county to conserve, protect,
and encourage agricultural operations on agricultural land within the county.” The ordinance also provides for a process to handle grievances against agricultural practices.

Blue House Farm (www.bluehousefarm.org), a certified organic farm, has a Community Supported Agriculture program that supplies regular deliveries of produce throughout the growing season to its members. Pie Ranch (www.pieranch.org) has a Community Supported “Eggriculture” program, supplying eggs to supporters. Both farms have educational programs designed to provide an opportunity for students to learn about sustainable agriculture.

 

See appendix page 70, CLICK HERE Researcher: Marcia Pagels

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From the 2014 Indicators Report

12.3% of county adults lack health insurance

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Quotable Quote

‟The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them.”—Paul Hawken