The Tragedy of Paved-Over Farmland

I don’t think people understand just what they are doing when they decide to turn farmland into a subdivision or a shopping mall.

It’s the worst kind of social experiment: an irreversible one. Once you pave over land, you cant just change your mind and turn it back into fertile topsoil. You’re going to be stuck with the pavement at least, and with whatever ugly commercial or cookie cutter structures someone decides to put on it. It will probably not be agricultural ever again, absent some kind of civilizational collapse.

Not just the community but the type and possibility of community change forever. Strangers move in. Neighbors no longer share borders. Family ties weaken. A farming community all of a sudden becomes a suburban community with a few farmers dotted around.

Unless you’re building the Notre Dame, paving over farmland these days is practically desecration. 

I say this with sympathy: most farmers don’t have a choice. Industrial farming requires debt, and debt eliminates choice, and so fast food restaurants inherit the land from the same bank that once backed the farmer.

But for those who do have a choice, I hope they remember and realize exactly what they will lose if they sell that land. They must realize they will set off a chain reaction if they develop, and they will be ending an endangered resource.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

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