The Small Farms Program started as a policy in Acquisition Plan 2000, which is the compass for SCAPOSD's work. This policy was developed by District staff and agricultural experts who were concerned about agricultural diversity, and specifically the future of local vegetable farms. Land values for Sonoma's quality winegrapes
are so high that vegetable farmers are unable to compete. The Small Farms Initiative recognizes that vegetable farms provide a valuable benefit to the community, and contribute to the local economy.
With the Small Farms Initiative, the District will lease land to farmers who grow vegetables, flowers, herbs, and berries. The leases will preserve some lands zoned for agriculture in production and allow access for experienced farmers who may not otherwise be able to find land. This initiative aims to ensure and enhance the continued viability of agricultural lands in Sonoma County by keeping land in agriculture.
Sonoma County has supported agriculture in many ways:
Yet, despite all of this we are losing vegetable farms at an alarming rate. Vegetable crops harvested from "truck farms" decreased by about 850 acres, or 50% of the total acreage between 1997 and 2000.
Farms in urban separators, or Greenbelts, contribute to smart growth and sustainable communities. Food produced at your neighborhood farm can be sold locally to food stores, schools and other institutions, and at area farmers markets.