Monday, November 3, 2008

Invest in Rhode Island's Future: Protect Open Space and Farmlands





VOTE TO APPROVE QUESTION 2
Tomorrow, November 4th, is election day. I want to inform you of a very important question on the Rhode Island ballot.

Question 2 - the Open Space and Recreation Development Bond - is crucial to the survival of Rhode Island agriculture.

This Bond will provide a $2.5 million state investment to match federal funding, foundation grants and donations to provide a total of over $10 million for the state's land conservation programs that:
· Save Rhode Island's vanishing farmland - and with them, locally grown foods
· Protect our communities' special open spaces and natural areas
· Create and expand parks when opportunities arise such as Rocky Point and private in-holdings in state parks
· Protect our drinking water and watersheds from pollution

Please take just a few moments to learn more about this very important issue!
The open space and recreational development bond will preserve state parks and natural open spaces, including the shorelines that make our Rhode Island so scenic and unique. The bond also addresses specific concerns of Rhode Island farmers and eaters.

Here is a bit more information about the bond and how it will affect our state's agricultural community, from our friend Rupert Friday of the Rhode Island Land Trust Council:

"Rhode Island has lost 80% of our farmland since 1945. Today, only 45,800 acres remain in production - less than 7% of the land in the state. Our remaining farmland is the basis for $100 million in Rhode Island's economy each year. It is also essential to defining the character of our communities and our quality of life. Rhode Island has the highest farmland prices in the nation and there is strong pressure to develop this land into new subdivisions.

Today, less than ¼ (25%) of our remaining farmland is protected. In 1985, the state began a visionary Farmland Protection Program to reign in the loss of farmland, save our agricultural heritage, and keep our agricultural economy viable. Since 1985, the state's farmland protection program has protected 81 farms and 6232 acres of productive farmland. Over 25 more farmers (nearly 2000 acres) have applied to protect their farms, been approved by the state program and are awaiting funding. The new Federal Farm Bill is providing $3-5 million each year to Rhode Island for farmland protection. The 2008 Open Space Bond is essential to provide some of the necessary matching funds."
Please let all your friends and family in Rhode Island know about this important ballot question.
Conserve our working farmlands and open spaces.
Question 2 APPROVE

12 comments:

Michelle said...

Jen, caught yur show today. It was great! I now want to get back into bakking bread! I wonder if I can make some artisinal gluten free bread?

karla said...

Jen, As farmers who produce food on land which is protected by Development Rights,we know how important it is to save open space for agriculture. Thank you for promoting the farmers and the quality food they produce. Now that our crops are harvested, the land put to rest,we plan throughout the winter for next seasons crops to be successful and bountiful for our appreciative consumers of farm fresh foods.
Karla Young
Young Family Farm

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