January 23, 2012
It’s not often that our morning commute gets us excited for the workday. But today we heard a story on the radio that caused us to bump up the speedometer a bit. The story was titled “Farmers Take Back Land Slated for Housing.”
Over the past 30 years, land development trends have been such that farmland has been lost to development at an ever-increasing rate. In fact, between 1982 and 2007 the US lost more than an acre of farmland every minute. When the housing bubble burst in 2008, that process was stopped. In many ways, the burst has been a tragedy with the millions of homeowners who faced foreclosure. However, one silver lining that has appeared has been the return of lands slated for development back to farmland.
Indeed, in the story we heard this morning, one farmer who sold his land to a developer for $80,000 an acre has since bought it back at a heavily discounted $18,500 an acre and has returned it to agricultural use. Further, more and more young farmers are entering the field by leasing lands and living on the profits they make from selling high-value commodities like cotton and hay. We encourage you to have a listen by clicking here.
January 5, 2012
We hope everyone had a relaxing holiday season! We sure did, but we’re also incredibly excited to get 2012 started.
Now that you’re all caught up on your email and are getting settled back into your daily routine, isn’t it time for another vacation? Maybe not, but how about a five-minute break? We’ve got just the ticket! Our affiliate, Trout Headwaters, is doing some great work at Running Colter Ranch over in Bozeman, Montana and recently released a video documenting their work. Enjoy!
November 29, 2011
We would like to introduce you to another friend of Field Sport Concepts, Wyman Meinzer. Mr. Meinzer is the Texas State Photographer and has a number of wonderful videos documenting the beauty of the Texas landscape. One of his videos, “Securing the Legacy,” documents the critically important work of the Natural Resources Management program at Texas Tech University. Instructing the students in both the ecological history of Texan ecosystems as well as proper management of it is range of ecosystems, the program prepares students to serve as environmental stewards for generations to come. We invite you to check out the video below.
November 17, 2011
Carrots, oregano, and beets.
Well, maybe it’s not entirely that simple. You should probably add lettuce, potatoes, and corn as well. And berries.
The point is, developers are finding that some of the most successful residential and commercial developments are those that include a long-term commitment to local agriculture. While many developments centered around culs-de-sac and strip malls have been put on hold, those that include community farms, farmer’s markets, and other local food-based amenities are moving full steam ahead.
In fact, at the recent Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2011 Fall Meeting in Los Angeles, the sheer power of the local food movement was put on display. Speaker after speaker demonstrated how by including local food in their development, they saw significantly higher property values with lower capital investment than traditional residential and commercial developments.
In one example, a resort developer in Hawaii included a 22-acre farm on a recently completed luxury residential resort. He is now finding that the farm is having a big impact on sales and marketing, especially when considering it cost 1/100 the price of a traditional golf course, clubhouse, and spa. In another example, Bundoran Farm in Albemarle County, Virginia is a conservation community designed around a low-density residential development and a working farm. Benefiting from drastically lower infrastructure costs as a result of the use of on-site management of stormwater runoff, the developer is also seeing lots selling for $250,000 to over $1 million.
We encourage you to read more about agriculture-centered developments and would love to hear from you should you have any questions!
October 31, 2011
A few weeks back, we posted a story about how agriculture-based communities are the new golf communities. It looks like we’ve influenced a developer in Illinois to do the same! (on second thought, he’s probably been working on the project for more than the past few weeks) You see, John DeWald & Associates recently broke ground on their newest development, Serosun Farms. This one is not like traditional subdivisions, though. As DeWald puts it, “The vision of Serosun Farms is to protect and preserve our land from future development and suburban sprawl.” Serosun will blend agricultural preservation and sustainable practices (including producing 70-80% of their own energy on site).
Not only will the community have large plot sizes to preserve open space, it will be centered around a 160-acre working, sustainable farm with an on-site farmer’s market and over 400 acres of open space, miles of hiking trails, fishing ponds, playgrounds, a community center, and an equestrian facility. In fact, the community will have extensive boarding and training facilities and will offer professional care to the residents’ horses.
Perhaps most exciting of all, this innovative community isn’t alone! According to the Urban Land Institute, there are more than 200 similar projects currently in the works.
The affiliates at Field Sport Concepts have extensive experience with every stage of the development of agriculture-based communities. In fact, our work at Bundoran Farm was the first working farm to be certified Gold by Audubon International. We are eager to work with you to develop the next conservation community!
October 20, 2011
When veterans return home, they often struggle to re-acclimate to civilian life. In addition to having a hard time finding employment, many suffer from debilitating psychological issues. However, organizations like the Veterans Conservation Corps are working to make the process a bit easier.
Working to restore streams, watersheds, forests, and prairies, among other conservation projects, veterans in Washington State are given the opportunity to connect with others struggling with similar issues through volunteer opportunities. The program also provides veterans with job training for outdoor jobs in forestry, wildlife management, and other natural-resource fields. The hope is that by working outside, the veterans will benefit from the healing powers of nature.
Benefiting from an AmeriCorps grant, the Conservation Corps has also developed a robust network of members stationed at many colleges around the state. This has enabled the program to help veterans realize their higher education goals through working with college officials, navigating the GI Bill, and identifying other sources of funding for tuition. The program also serves enrolled veterans as they transition from military life to college life.
To learn more about the program, check out this article from The Seattle Times.
October 6, 2011
We’ve all heard of the Green Revolution, right? You know, that wildly successful effort to increase agricultural production to meet the demands of a growing world population?
But how about the Brown Revolution? Like its green counterpart, the Brown Revolution aims to increase agricultural productivity, but this time as a means of battling climate change. Unlike the previous version, however, this approach does not hinge on implementing new technology. Rather, it relies on restoring natural systems.
In South Dakota, a team of revolutionaries is looking to lead the charge by implementing a system of holistic management. Such a system seeks to mimic the natural herding of wild animals using livestock. Holistic management has been incredibly effective at promoting greater biodiversity, increased organic matter in the soil, rejuvenation of microorganisms, and the restoration of water cycles. If successful, the trio hopes to restore entire regions!
We would love to hear your ideas on holistic managements and the various ways this could serve as an opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts!
Also, check out this news clip celebrating Charlottesville, VA’s new certified LEED Platinum Smith Aquatic and Recreation Center. FSC affiliate, McKee Carson, is proud to have been responsible for the overall site planning, landscape architecture, civil engineering and site plan approvals for this exciting project!