While new construction and renovations have created opportunities for people seeking new homes in Manhattan, the past recession has created a demand for housing in the Hudson Valley. When the housing market (and loan market) tightened in New York City, prospective homeowners looked elsewhere to find affordable housing.
According to a NY Times.com report, this drive for housing in the valley meant that many acres of farmland were sacrificed to make room for new homes. Between 1997 and 2012, the number of farms in New York State dropped from 38,264 to 35,537. Additionally, more than 471,000 acres of farmland have been lost to development in the last 30 years.
This has put more of an emphasis on preserving farmland in the Hudson Valley. After all, so many of the vegetables and fruits enjoyed by New York City residents comes from upstate farms. Because of this, lawmakers have partnered with a local preservation group, the Scenic Hudson Land Trust, to spearhead an initiative to preserve the region's food system.
Part of this involves setting aside money for a $50 million for a conservation easement program that would pay farmers the development value of their land and create a deed restriction that would permanently prohibit development on such land.
It remains to be seen whether this initiative will reap benefits for farmers (and for consumers). After all, a number of farmers may be advised that cashing in their land for houses is a sound business decision. However, the economic impact on farmers markets in New York City cannot be ignored.