Framework for a Bay Area Agricultural Plan

SAGE is initiating the development of a Framework for a Bay Area Regional Agricultural Plan. This project will bring together key stakeholders to catalyze multi-jurisdictional coordination and investments to make the San Francisco Bay Area’s agricultural sector a foundation of regional resilience. The Framework will build on and integrate with existing strategic plans, in particular Plan Bay Area 2050 and County Climate Action and Sustainability Plans. The stakeholders in the Framework process, representing counties, agencies, agricultural businesses, and community-based and advocacy organizations, will collaboratively identify priorities and potential opportunities for regional coordination across these areas: land conservation, climate-smart agriculture, and land access; economics and infrastructure for farm business viability and food supply chain resiliency; affordable housing and transportation for the agricultural workforce, in rural areas; and public engagement, education and regional agricultural branding.  

 The Framework will explore a variety of mechanisms to strategically protect and invest in the Bay Area’s working lands by following two distinct, related tracks:  

Cross-Jurisdictional Coordination. The project will convene government representatives from all Bay Area Counties to explore coordinated approaches to the strategic preservation of the Bay Area’s working lands and climate resilience. Through this track, the project will identify short and medium-term actions such as mechanisms to share best practices, as well as longer-term actions, such as the exploration of Joint Powers Authority (JPA) or other cross-jurisdictional structures or mechanisms to take a coordinated approach to preserving agricultural lands, supporting agricultural viability,  and increasing climate resilience in the region. Multi-jurisdictional investments in all elements of agricultural resource conservation and agricultural viability are critical for the implementation of climate adaptation strategies and meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emission goals, as well as achieving economic equity and community resilience goals. 

Engagement with PBA.  With MTC/ABAG as a partner, the project will work with stakeholders in Bay Area Counties to strengthen and operationalize Plan Bay Area (PBA) 2050 implementation actions that relate to protection of working lands, promotion of their co-benefits, and investment in the agricultural economy.  In particular, this track aims to help MTC revamp and expand the impact of Priority Conservation Areas (PCAs) and the One Bay Area Grants (OBAG) that facilitate investments in PCAs. Secondarily, through the PBA Priority Development and Production Areas (PDAs and PPAs) the project aims to assist in identifying and highlighting affordable housing needs in rural areas for the agricultural workforce, economic development needs to bolster food supply chain resiliency, and impacts of land preservation on regional growth, transportation, and housing development. 

The outcome of the project will be a Framework for a  Bay Area Agricultural Plan, which effectively engages a network of agencies, partner groups and stakeholders in co-creating its design and strategies for implementation.

The project is funded by a Sustainable Agriculture Lands Conservation Program planning grant and is led by the Santa Clara County Planning Department in collaboration with consultants from HR&A, Cultivate, SAGE, Urban-Rural Strategies and SdS Consulting. 

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