Santa Clara County (County) was once known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight. Despite rapid urbanization in the north part of the County in recent years, Southern Santa Clara County is trying to hold on to that identity as an agricultural and orchard hub and its $263 million in total commodity value. Over the last 5 years, numerous plans, programs, initiatives, and policies have been launched by government, non-profit organizations and the private sector in the region with respect to climate change and agricultural land protection. There has been little to no effort to proactively link agricultural preservation, thoughtful land use planning and climate adaptation planning into a singular “Action Plan.” The County’s urban edge farmlands and surrounding agricultural preserves will help to sustain cities and further the State’s climate adaptation and GHG emission goals, but only if these lands are strategically protected through integrated policies, planning, investment and collaborative action. The time is now to align the myriad of plans, programs, policies and infrastructure investments affecting undeveloped agricultural lands across this rapidly growing County and its Cities to sustain the Valley’s natural environment, support the local agricultural economy, maintain the health of its communities and increase the resiliency and adaptation of this region in the face of climate change.
“In the world of food and farming systems, the problems are always complex and the players and interests are diverse. Making change in such an environment requires patience and skilled facilitation to bring groups together for collaborative action. Ag Innovations has been doing just that for many years and they do it very effectively.”