My Statement on Preserving the Gill Tract for Urban Farming
July 9, 2012
Fossil fuels are limited. While they may not be running out right away, what remains will be steadily more expensive to extract. This will make large-scale agribusiness less & less economically viable, with its petroleum-powered large machinery and fossil fuel-based fertilizers and pesticides. Before long, more food will need to be grown using a more traditional approach that requires many more people. People will need to be trained to grow food, and we need to be trained near where we live, most of us in urban areas. Teaching agriculture effectively requires real working farms to demonstrate the entire process. A working farm requires first-class soil, which takes a long time to build up. Regarding the land at the Gill Tract, perhaps only the northern section is first-class soil, but the whole area is still rather small for a working farm. All of the land should remain unbuilt and unpaved, to allow using the areas with lower-quality soil for other activities that need to be adjacent to the cropland, such as composting, greenhouses, demonstrations of soil remediation, and so on. For the foreseeable future, other unpaved uses for parts of the land such as Little League are also fine, because they don't smother the soil under pavement and destroy its viability, in case the need to use those areas as well for farming instruction and food production were to arise quickly. Let's look ahead and preserve the entire unpaved area for the transition to the coming world of more farmers.
The text above is a further edit of the two-minute statement that I wrote and read at the Albany, California City Council meeting of July 9, 2012, where they were considering a rezoning of the Gill Tract to allow for commercial development. They did proceed to rezone the tract.
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