Letter: Local farms are the future

Published: 11/23/2022 7:00:23 AM
Modified: 11/23/2022 7:00:13 AM

In his My Turn (Monitor, 11/15), Paul Nichols moves from the adumbrations of winter in Joni Mitchell’s “Urge for Going” to the late fall landscape of his own farm, concluding with his reasons for remaining here. The lyrics tap into that primordial urge to follow the sun southward. But, like Mr. Nichols and the singer of the song, “I get the urge for going ― never seem to go.” Born and raised a New Englander, my Yankee roots and our fine regional educational, cultural and recreational resources keep me here. The devastating storms and droughts mentioned in his column are a valid reason to remain where things are relatively quiet, but we are all, nonetheless, affected by climate change.

The Mississippi was so low this summer that Midwestern grain could not be shipped down river. Farms in California suffered from the ongoing water shortage. Hurricanes and unseasonable cold in the south affected citrus crops. Concentrating agriculture in one region worked in the past but we must rethink how we grow food. American Farmland Trust tells us 11 million acres of farmland or ranchland were converted to residential or urban land between 2001 and 2016. We need to preserve prime agricultural soil because crop failures and shipping costs in other regions will redefine agriculture. Already, local produce and meat is competitive cost wise with that from corporate farms. Sound municipal planning, land trusts that protect farm land and make it affordable, and agricultural best practices will ensure our food supply as the climate changes.

Christine Hague



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