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The World Sprawls On


Urbanite, Suburbanite, and Exurbanites’ are seeing the constant push to develop farm land across this country.  Sprawl is not indigenous to our shores, but every country in the world is experiencing unprecedented sprawlGoing, going, gone....  Farmland is being developed at an alarming rate.  The University of California at Davis studied the conversion of farmland in that state over a ten year period, 1991-2001, highlighting that over 49,000 acres of agricultural farmland were developed into new housing and strip malls.  We see it every day around us.  This past weekend I personally had the opportunity to see if first hand.  A road trip that took me 70 miles from where I live, drove home the ugliness of sprawl.  In the middle of corn fields that have been plowed for the winter, rose housing complex’s in the middle of nowhere.  Someday soon, a new town name will sprout, or it will be annexed into an existing town that is near the developments I saw.  Signs sprang from the country roads announcing this 425 acre parcel or that parcel are available for development.  Those who farmed the land obviously could do so no longer, or the money was just too lucrative to pass up.  The problem with these sprawling developments is that it taxes our resources.  New roads, schools, infrastructure, and shopping need to be built to service these lonely outposts of civilization.  Some say this is progress.  I say it is a terrible waste of resources and threatens are very existence to sustenance.  Taking farmland out of production takes away the ability to feed ourselves.  Global population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2025.  We need a land mass the size of Brazil to feed these people.  We’re not creating new land masses.  We need to maximize existing farmlands, which means we look to GMO seeds to raise yield factors.  Communities that currently exist, could use an influx of new blood to help revitalize already existing housing and shopping stock.  We have already over built.  Just look at the current housing crisis.  Stop the sprawl by reinvesting in our current cities, towns, and suburbs.  The sprawl has to end, or we will not be able to feed ourselves and the world.

John Vlahakis


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