"Farmland Protection, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture: The Example of Shelburne Farms" with Tom Daniels

Tom Daniels is a Professor of Planning and Design and directs the Program in Land Use and Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. He spoke about Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT as an example of a sustainable farm that is also an important community resource. Mainstream industrial farming today has many detrimental environmental side effects – such as water pollution and high greenhouse gas emissions – and has widened the gap between producers and consumers. Farms such as Shelburne Farms are working towards decreasing those environmental effects by the way that they use the land, and increasing community access and engagement. Some of their sustainable farming practices include minimizing erosion and water pollution, raising grass-atd livestock, and using renewable energy sources, as well as putting plots of land under permanent conservation easements to protect it in the future. Shelburne Farms produces organic fruits and veggies, cheese, and pasture-raised meat, among other products. In order to engage the community they have educational programs for kids and for teachers, cultural activities, and provide a place for farm-based educational organizations to network. Professor Daniels recognizes that the farm still needs to work on making their products and events more accessible and affordable for a wider range of people, but believes that it is very possible to feed everyone if we change the way that we use the land, produce food, and what we eat. 

By Maya Spalding-Fecher ’21