The tradeoffs between preserving farmland and finding space for housing drew more than 40 people to a panel discussion at the Monroe Library.
The event, “Disappearing Farmland: Population Growth and Food Supply Sustainability,” took place Monday, April 29. The discussion was part of the Issues That Matter series hosted by Sno-Isle Libraries. The Monroe Library event was the first of five under the theme of Looking Forward and focusing on growth impacts.
“If you had eggs today or milk today, no matter what brand, you very likely had local eggs or local milk,” panel facilitator Linda Neunzig, who is agriculture coordinator for Snohomish County, told the crowd.
Neunzig also pointed out that the number of acres being farmed is shrinking in Snohomish County. From 2012 to 2017, the acreage in production went down from 70,863 acres to 63,671 acres, she said. However, in that same time period, the value of products raised went up by $18 million.
“Our farmers are doing more on less land,” Neunzig said.
On the panel was Snohomish County Council member Sam Low, who addressed how zoning decisions can affect farms and housing. Low said that if more housing options aren’t provided near transit and transportation corridors, people will move into more rural areas.
Other panelists included:
- Nick Bratton, of Forterra
- Robin Fay, of PCC Farmland Trust
- Bobbi Lindemulder, of the Snohomish Conservation District
- Neil Subhash, of Present Tense Farm
- Leah Werkhoven, of Werkhoven Dairy
Other forums in Issues That Matter 2019 are:
- Transportation: Getting from Here to There. Lynnwood Library, 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, May 14.
- Employment: Working on Future Jobs. Marysville Library, 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, May 21.
- Housing and Homelessness: Where will we all live? Edmonds Library, 6:30-8 p.m., Monday, June 3.
- Housing: Where will we all live? Oak Harbor Library, 6:30-8 p.m., Tuesday, June 4.
Accommodations for people with disabilities are available on request. Please contact the library in the community where the forum is being held in advance of the event.
Issues That Matter is supported by the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.