Subdivision developers have discovered, according to the New York Times [“Growing With the Crops, Nearby Property Values”] that they can get more cash for a postage-stamp building lot if it is somewhere near an “organic” “farm.”

In one of the featured examples, a developer is preparing to sell 334 homes on 220 acres in Vermont. The farm amenity consists of 16 acres which the newspaper describes as “not previously used for farming,” which may mean it was not usable for anything. A 220-home project near Atlanta is going to feed its inhabitants from a 20-acre “farm.”

The developers are hiring farmers, or perhaps people who play farmers on television, to do something bucolic and organic on these scraps of land within view of the picture windows surrounding them. What’s next — Civil War reenactments for communities of history buffs?

The irony here is that the notion of setting aside land for agriculture near our settlements, had it been done seriously, could have brought us all to a far different place. The Clean Water Act of 1972 envisioned ending water pollution in the United States by using such fields of growing things to reclaim waste water without discharging pollution of any kind. We could have done it, too, but the developers killed the idea of setting aside any land for any thing other than maximum profits.

Seeing that we yearn for green, the industries that are trashing the planet give us greenwash. Want healthy and sustainable food? Here. Have some farmwash.

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