Access to publicly owned, agriculturally viable land provides rich opportunities and resources to the local food and farming community, as well as the general public. Through a survey of publicly owned land in San Luis Obispo County, local non-profit Central Coast Grown (CCG) has identified roughly 433 acres of arable land that can be used for agricultural production. This underutilized land offers the chance to expand educational, recreational, food producing, and economic development opportunities in the community.
The Public Land Survey of open space evaluated the quality of the land for farming and food production. The survey considered location, land use type, soil type, irrigation capability, slope, shade, cover, shape, and proximity to roads.
Of the 72 parcels identified, over two thirds were classified as prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance. This demonstrates the vast potential in San Luis Obispo to increase local food production and expand opportunities for the community to engage.
“Forward thinking citizens, farmers, and public agencies who value open space, agriculture, and healthy communities have a great opportunity in front of them to utilize this prime farmland,” said CCG Executive Director Jenna Smith.
City Farm–San Luis Obispo, an urban farm in the City of San Luis Obispo, provides an example of how our community can utilize the publicly-owned land identified in the survey. The farm is currently being leased from the City of San Luis Obispo by non-profit CCG to provide land for new farmers and educational programs. CCG’s first formal food system and farming education course for Pacific Beach High School started in June 2014.
“We’ve seen an outpouring of enthusiasm for City Farm,” Smith said. “We are all consumers, and increasingly our community has shown interest in strengthening their relationship with their food and farmers.”
The parcels noted in the survey provide an excellent opportunity for the community to do just that. The land is located in Paso Robles, Atascadero, Templeton, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo and Nipomo. Most parcels range in size from 1-50 acres.
The full Public Land Survey results are available on Central Coast Grown’s website www.CentralCoastGrown.org