I had an exciting conversation yesterday while I was in Lexington picking up my last share from Shared Harvest CSA. An exciting conversation about land use! The town has recently acquired the former Busa Farm land and is now trying to decide how to redevelop it. Since Lexington purchased the land with funds collected through the Community Preservation Act, the site will remain mostly open space. There will likely also be some affordable housing included in the plan. The town-wide debate is mostly over what form of open space it will be; the people at lexfarm.org want it to be used as a community farm, while many “soccer parents” want to see the land turned into a sports field. Currently there are no farm advocates on the appointed board for the redevelopment project.
This reminded me a lot of what’s going on in Milton, except that Milton hasn’t yet enacted the CPA and their debate is primarily over the affordable housing decision. Lexington seems pretty okay with small-scale affordable housing on Busa Land. Seeing as the CPA is designed specifically to help municipalities to fund open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing, it should be a natural way for Milton to fund their proposed development on the Town Farm site. We’ll see how the town’s efforts to enact CPA legislation go, and I will also keep you posted about developments with the Lexington Community Farm proposal. A volunteer from the Lexington Farm Coalition was videotaping CSA members talking about why local agriculture is important to them; my contribution to the video was about my belief that preserving a local farming industry is essential for maintaining successful local economies and community autonomy. You’ll no doubt hear more from me about the intersection between food and local economies, and informal economies, in the future. If you want to learn more about local food in the Boston area, check out the ladies at Boston Localvores, who are fighting the good fight for us all.
Finally, a warning: next semester I’m going to be working with a group of lovely teammates on a study of CPA implementation. So you’re going to be hearing a lot about it. I’ll try to keep it spicy.