The Farmlands Group

ed rosenthal
March 5, 2015

When Pat and I first came to Sonoma County in 1984, she was already a committed activist, and I guess I was as well.   We were certainly looking for ways to get involved in our new community.

One of the first issues we tackled was farmlands preservation.  In the 70's, two Sonoma County Supervisors, Chuck Hinkle and Bill Kortum  had been recalled because of  their opposition to residential development of rural areas.   Concern about the effects of sprawl were very real.

Our new friend, Marty Roberts, recruited us as Board Members of the Sonoma County Farmlands Group, an environmental organization dedicated to protecting farmland from urban sprawl, and we were soon deeply involved in issues like adding an agricultural element to the General Plan, and creating Urban Growth Boundaries around our cities.

Pat and I both made literary contributions to the cause.  Hers was the slogan: "Eat it or loose it!", which appeared on Farmlands Group Tshirts and Sweatshirts.  Mine was the following sonnet, which was read at the 1988 Farmlands Group Celebration:

"I am weary, the farmer said, and old,
All of my sons have left me long ago.
All of my friends have sold out for the gold.
No one wants the healthy food I grow."
"Be of good cheer," the citizen replied.
"Don't be tempted by hopelessness and loot,
More and more people are not satisfied,
With haggard greens and faded foreign fruit.
More and more, your neighbors are aware
That these, our rolling hills, will not remain,
Nor verdant fields, unless we take care
To buy the good, rich produce they contain.
And so, let's solemnly declare a pact.
Give me your hand - we'll leave this land intact."


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"for 'twere absurd to think that nature in the earth bred gold, perfect in the instant;
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