Access to land and capital for farmers and growers

Increasing Houstonians’ access to fresh, healthy produce and long term resilience of the region will require steadily increasing agricultural production from the back yard to the large farm. Nonprofit and government entities should pursue catalytic policies and interventions that increase access to land, capital, training, and markets for potential farmers, growers, ranchers, and support industries, such as compost production. This group works to educate elected officials, developers, and other decision makers on the impact they have on farmland.

We will develop a road map to starting a rural or urban agricultural operation in the Houston region, conceived as a 4-page pamphlet and an online resource. As part of this effort, we will explore increasing capital and land availability through things such as LARA, Extension, Fair Valuation for Ag Operations, the Gulf Coast Economic Development District, crowd funding, CSAs, USDA, and FSA. This group will work with Last Organic Outpost to explore the Urban Agricultural Development District concep, both to assist in the effort to develop one in the Fifth Ward and to assess the feasibility of such districts all over the region.

This group will pursue a Farmland in All policies agenda – including consideration of the impact on our region’s farmland in major decisions, in alignment with the Federal Farmland Protection Policy Act. The group may develop policy proposals on Urban Agricultural Development Districts, capital availability, LARA lots and similar programs, and other work. The group will invite speakers such as someone from COH to present on the LARA lot program at a HFPW meeting, as well as representatives of the various resources noted above.

Champions: Tommy Garcia-Prats and Jay Blazek Crossley