A legacy movement • The stewards of Lancaster County's land
We are the continuation of generations of Lancastrians who have safeguarded this rural landscape and farming lifestyle for future generations.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, is first and foremost a rural farming community and all of our county citizens enjoy the bountiful harvests this land provides: the views, the pastoral lifestyle, the farm-to-table food culture, and the peaceful co-existence with our Amish neighbors. Yes, our county can grow and change, but it must do so in a way that allows the rural character of the county to not only remain -- but to thrive.
Some say Lancaster has already changed too much. In the past, sprawling suburbanization, strip malls and traffic snarls drastically altered wide swaths of the county. In response to widespread citizen concern, the Lancaster County commissioners created a plan for sensible, balanced growth: It encouraged new home and business construction on land in and next to existing urban places – the city, boroughs and villages. It discouraged development on farmland and established a program for permanent preservation of prime agricultural land.
Respect Farmland is a watchdog group that formed to hold the region accountable to that plan and make sure citizens are informed about projects that fall outside the county’s growth vision. We also have questions for Lancaster's planners to consider:
• Is the current rate of growth sustainable or desirable? In a state of
declining population, are past growth projections accurate?
• Does the economy require constant new construction or is that an
unsustainable economic bubble?
• Is there a new model for economic prosperity that does not rely on
diminishing the county's thriving agricultural economy?
• Are there better plots to develop than open farmland? Why aren't they
• How do we define "smart growth"? Is this phrase a method for
repackaging another round of suburban sprawl?
In past decades, Lancaster County pioneered farmland preservation. Our program leads the nation in acres preserved.
Yet this very preservation program is jeopardized to its core when developers propose the rolling back of preservation easements to make way for their lucrative development proposals.
Families that have chosen to preserve their farms at great personal cost to themselves and local taxpayers should not have to watch as their land is taken in part or whole by eminent domain to enable profits for private developers.
Respect Farmland is a grassroots group of concerned citizens. Some of our founding members are veterans of decades long preservation battles, and some are new to the cause. Our goal is to give citizens a voice in the process and to shine a light on proposed projects.
We believe the County is best served by taking the long view. Please join us on our Facebook page at Respect Farmland and click here to see how you can become more involved.
Year of production: 2023
Running Time: 2:30 min
Color / Sound / Subtitled