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A production of the Southern Foodways Alliance, GRAVY tells new and complicated stories about the changing American South.

Dec 16, 2020

The U.S. is losing agricultural land to commercial, industrial, and residential development. Every state is converting ag acres to other uses, but the South is losing more farmland than any other region. Southern states' policy response has also lagged behind other parts of the country. Why does this matter? First, it matters because we need land to grow food. And second, agricultural land can sequester carbon and it emits less greenhouse gases than developed land. 

Some municipalities, like Lexington, Kentucky, are stepping up farmland preservation efforts. Taking advantage of their local program, the James family, in Lexington, has placed conservation easements on their farm to guarantee it can never be developed. But not all landowners can rely on such programs to protect their land.