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Why Local Farms Matter

It’s amazing when you think about it. By protecting farmland we preserve so much more than the land. We save forever Marin’s signature rural landscape and a diverse source of local food. We keep people on the land, many whose families have husbanded the same farms for more than a century. We protect a thriving rural economy. We keep our local environment healthy and vibrant. 

There are nearly 300 family farms in Marin that grow food on 167,000 acres of land. These farms produce milk, farmstead cheese, beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, vegetables and fruits, oysters and more in harmony with nature. While farming is in decline in many areas of the country, in Marin it is a growing $70 million business.

Family farms help preserve clean air and water. Protecting farmland reduces pollution emissions and contaminated water runoff that accompany sprawl and paved surfaces. Providing local food to local people reduces food miles, thereby reducing toxic and carbon emissions into the air. In fact many farming practices help improve air and water quality. Planting trees, healing erosion and even using sustainable energy-producing practices all help preserve these important natural resources.

Family farms protect wildlife. Nationwide, the vast majority of wildlife depends on the habitat provided by farms and ranches. Here in Marin, farmland plays a key role in connecting corridors between public parks and preserves. They also provide critical habitat for grassland songbirds, rabbits, owls and hawks, coyotes and bobcats and many more.

Family farms take care of the soil. Their livelihoods depend upon rich soil to grow their leafy greens and nourish their orchards. It is the foundation for grasslands that ranches depend on for grazing their cattle, sheep and goats. Herds grazing these grasses also do something incredible – they pull climate change-causing carbon out of the atmosphere.

It takes a community to protect a farm and the many benefits it provides. Join MALT to help ensure the future of farming in Marin.