Land use planning is an important tool for aligning settlement patterns and natural resource management with Vermont residents’ values. Community-level plans and policies affect many concrete land management and development decisions in Vermont. It is difficult to support farm viability without intentional local and regional land use policies that preserve agricultural land, and without a culture that values the services and economic opportunities provided by the natural resource. Land use policies are living documents, and economic, demographic, and geographic shifts call for a thorough updating of existing plans and policies. Communities empowered to directly engage with the food and agriculture community, and to proactively plan for transitions happening beyond municipal borders, will both protect our existing agricultural land base and increase economic opportunity throughout the whole food system, including processing and distribution, market development, and food access.
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