Oregon's statewide land use laws, dating back to 1973, have done a pretty good job of protecting farmland around the state. But they are not doing nearly as a good a job protecting land for growing food. As the price of farmland in the Willamette Valley soars, it's getting harder and harder for young farmers who want to grow organic food to find land they can afford. Even established farmers committed to sustainable and organic agriculture are finding it challenging to hold onto their land.
On this episode of Locus Focus, we talk with organic farming pioneer Harry MacCormack about what needs to be done to protect not just farmland, but what he calls food land in the Willamette Valley.
Harry MacCormack has been farming Sunbow Farm near Corvallis, Oregon, since 1972, and was one of the first organic farmers in the Willamette Valley. He helped start Oregon Tilth in 1974 and has played a major role in advocating for organic, sustainable and local agriculture. He has written numerous books and inspired many local farmers to strive to build a local food system in the Pacific Northwest.
Find out more about farm succession planning and protecting food production lands: