Planning for AgRICULTURE

Making farm viability and farmland protection an integral part of land use planning

Planning for Ag is a collaboration between the American Farmland Trust (AFT) and GrowSmart Maine (GSM) to make farm viability and farmland protection an integral part of land use planning. We do this through:

1) Advocacy at the local and state levels to advance legislation, planning solutions, and other measures that help safeguard farmland and farm viability;

2) Convening partners and channeling resources to amplify smart growth and farm community voices in town and municipal planning processes;

3) Enabling local communities and citizen planners to integrate farm viability and farm protection strategies in comprehensive plans and land-use ordinances by making relevant tools and guidance readily available.

The initiative is a response to the alarming rate of farmland loss in Maine and across America. Maine lost almost 150,000 acres or 10% of its farmland between 2012 and 2017. AFT estimates that about two thirds of farmland loss is due to “low density residential development,” or sprawl.

GSM works with local communities to limit sprawl and encourage development toward existing village centers. Smart growth allows local businesses and farmers’ markets to thrive on walkable main streets, communities to benefit from resilient local food networks, and families to have access to healthy, locally grown food. Reducing sprawl has also been shown to have a positive fiscal impact on town and municipal budgets.

If you have questions or want to explore how we can support planning in your town, contact Harald Bredesen, Program Director, at (207) 248-8166 or

News and Updates

GrowSmart Maine supports two bills on farmland protection

Planning for Ag provides an opportunity to prioritize farmland protection and farm viability as essential smart growth outcomes, as we consider where to focus our lobbying efforts.  GrowSmart Maine will support two bills that affirm municipal and property owner actions to protect productive farmland and conserve open space.

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