BOONSBORO, Md. (WDVM) — We are nervous enough about our health with the coronavirus pandemic but a team of agriculture specialists at the University of Maryland’s extension service here are warning our kitchen pantries are at risk of going bare if we are not proactive.
Annette Cormany and Jeff Semler warn that unchecked land use — urban sprawl, pervasive commercial zoning, unrestricted housing permits and solar farms (when panels on homes and buildings would suffice) all threaten farmland and, as a result, our food supply.
Cormany notes that empty grocery shelves are a common sight during the pandemic, a sign of food insecurity. Growing our own foods could avoid that and it is fresh, health and nutritious.
Semler is critical of the development which has stolen productive farmland. But he has high praise for Montgomery County, Maryland’s visionary policies to devote generous acreage to ag reserves. He estimates than in the last 20 years the U.S. has lost 31 million acres of farmland to unrestrained land-use policies. That is the equivalent to the land area for the entire state of Iowa.