Celebrate Farmland Friday by Speaking Out
Lehigh County Close to Funding Farmland Preservation – Your Help Needed!
Northampton County: The Push is on to Make Farmland Preservation a Budget Item!
Yes, it’s Friday…and that means it’s Farmland Friday. This time of year it’s a great time to eat local produce especially tomatoes, sweet corn and peaches. But if you want to continue to enjoy local produce, open vistas, fresh air and clean water, if you don’t want traffic to get worse with increased development, it’s also important today to find your voice and reach out to your county executives and council members in support of farmland preservation.
This year RenewLV has been vocal in support of farmland preservation. RenewLV has recommended that both counties restore funding for farmland preservation to previous levels ($2 million for Lehigh County and $1 million for Northampton County.)
Now we need you to find your voice and speak out in support of farmland preservation. Let your county elected officials know through emails, letters and phone calls how important it is to you that we restore funding for the county farmland preservation programs to previous levels.
People often tell us a story that begins: “When I was growing up in the Lehigh Valley…” or “When I moved here in…” Now is the time to tell your most moving story to your elected officials. Now. They need to hear from you today.
Here’s the update of what’s happening in Lehigh and Northampton counties on this topic:
In Lehigh County, County Executive Tom Muller and the Lehigh County Commissioners have heard us! They are working through the details on restoring funding to $2 million a year for three years from a combination of $1.5 million from the refinancing of a bond issue and $500,000 per year in gaming revenue. We could not be happier (okay, we asked for ten years of funding, and they found three years — that’s actually really GOOD!)
If you live in Lehigh County, you should be proud and maybe event take a minute to say thank you.
Please reach out today! It’s easy! Here is the physical address for sending letters, the email addresses for sending emails and the phone numbers you can call to register your support. It’s important that you reach out to both the council and the executive because they are two separate branches of government.
We’re told that email is the preferred method of communication.
Physical letters may be mailed to: Lehigh County Government Center, 17 S 7th St, Allentown, PA 18101
Phone: 610-782 3050 Commissioners, 610-782-3001 Executive
Over in Northampton County we have work to do. In council meetings a few months ago County Executive John Brown predicted a surplus in the existing farmland preservation budget adequate to meet demand for easements in 2017. We would like to see a robust farmland preservation effort in Northampton County and have questioned whether surplus funds will actually be enough in 2017 to cover the demand for eligible farms in the pipeline. The budget process is happening now, and Northampton County Council needs to ensure in this budget cycle that there will be adequate funds to cover the cost of those farms eligible for farmland preservation easements in 2017.
Now is the time for anyone who supports farmland preservation to make their voices heard.
If you are a Northampton County resident, it is necessary that your county council hear from you immediately. Tell them that story of yours that begins, “When I was growing up in the Lehigh Valley…” or “When I moved here in…” Tell them what impact you see development having today in your neighborhood and why you think preserving farmland is important. Now. Today. Tell them that funding farmland preservation in the Northampton County 2017 budget is a priority for you.
This affects you! According to the Assessment Report: Local Food Economy, with the farmland that remains in the Lehigh Valley, we can only feed 24% of our population in the region on a traditional American diet!
Here is the physical address for sending letters, the email addresses for sending emails to Northampton County Council and Executive and the phone numbers you can call to register your support for farmland preservation.
Emails to Northampton County Council: firstname.lastname@example.org
Physical letters may be mailed to: Northampton County Council and Executive, Northampton County Courthouse, 669 Washington Street, Easton, PA 18042-7475
Phone calls: 610-829-6596 Council; 610-829-6300 Executive
If you send an email or a letter please copy me (email@example.com.) I will be keeping a file for when we communicate with your elected officials and the higher the stack of communications, the more powerful the argument for farmland will be!
Here are some additional things you can do to celebrate Farmland Friday today:
- Stop at a local farm stand or go to a farmers market and buy local produce. Local economies are built one dollar at a time.
- Take a photo of your favorite farmland vista and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us know where farm field is located and we may use it in future social media.
- Let us know if you want to be on the Farmland Preservation Direct Action Team.
- We are going to be organizing people to attend future Northampton County Council meetings. If you are interested in joining us, please let us know.
- We have plans to create a big banner that says, “Save It – Don’t Pave It,” and we’ll need some extra hands. If you want to help, let us know.
- Make a donation to RenewLV today to support our campaign.
Thank you for your support of farmland preservation in the Lehigh Valley. Through your efforts, you are leaving a legacy of farms as businesses, open vistas and local food.
Did you see that RenewLV’s Farmland Preservation Committee chair and board member, Julie Thomases had an editorial about farmland preservation published in the Morning Call? Check it out here.