Chatham County is blessed with a healthy and growing local sustainable farm economy, supported by the community college programs, multiple farmers market, as well as markets and restaurants that buy local.
The section of the Southwest Shore Conservation Assessment “Working Lands” (p. 33-34 ) includes examples of developments in the USA that incorporate working farm, crops and livestock into their communities. The report includes a site specific map (page 55) of 176 acres within Chatham Park of which 95% is prime farmland soil.
Benefits of including small farm operations in new large scale developments include:
- Conservation of important soils and open space
- Land restoration through organic farming
- Reduced reliance on food transported from distant sources
The report notes that the Chatham Park land includes several areas with prime soils that could become small farm sites perhaps with longterm leases by farmers through a non-profit lease holder. Another recommendation is to set aside larger areas of land for biofuel crops, native plant nurseries and hayfields.