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Letter to the Editor: Where will food come from if we destroy farms?


The story about the Berryville dairy farm was a nice story. I had no idea a spread of that size existed in the area. It's good to see the family intends to farm until they pass away. That leads me to the following thoughts.

For over 30 years I lived in Dale City in Prince William County. When I first arrived, the county had a large agricultural base. One farm was less than two miles from my home. The man running it had cattle and was providing space for folks to keep horses. A few years later he was renting out garden plots. My dad and I had four of those plots, enabling us to grow more veggies there than in Dale City.

The western part of the county was all farm land, as was the area to the north along U.S. 15. These farms are virtually all gone, having been converted to condos, McMansions, shopping centers, etc. The area in which I had garden space is now the "wonderful" Prince William Parkway, strip malls, condos, etc.

Now, how did all this "growth" come about? Quite simple. Taxes and the money offered landowners by real estate investors. Sadly, taxes on farmland are not commensurate with the services the taxing body provides as compared to the services provided in built- up areas. Raise taxes on the farmers, make it difficult for them to make a decent living, and when somebody waves a couple of million dollars under their noses, they end up selling. Oh, but that's OK. We can always import our meat and vegetables from South America or Asia.

For years I've heard the mantra "we have to have growth." To that, I say bull. Why does growth have to be lateral. It is time growth began to be vertical. Instead of putting houses on postage stamp-size lots, build multi-story condos or apartments. And retain the open space for residents to have gardens, places to observe the wildlife, and clean air. If we keep destroying farms in order to erect houses and shopping centers, where will the food come from?

Bob Brookfield, Wardensville, W. Va.


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