Preserving Our Farmland in Pennsylvania

Preserving Our Farmland in Pennsylvania

EXHIBITION: C/O Commonwealth:
People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership

DATES: May 24, 2021 - July 2021
LOCATION: HUB Robeson Galleries, Pennsylvania State University

In some arenas, farming is viewed as providing outdated jobs to an aging population, when in fact, farming is fast becoming a platform for innovation and sustainability. Penn State University has one of the best agricultural schools in the world. By bringing attention to the landscape of preserved farms, students may think twice when they drive by a large field full of agricultural activity. Land preserved through our counties’ farmland preservation programs is technically and legally considered “developed,” since preserved farms are protected in perpetuity. In no way can additional development take place unless it is deemed as a right of way to public utilities or taken by eminent domain. Thus the landscapes will remain as they are and farming activity will continue on that land indefinitely. The beauty of this is that we Pennsylvanians are the heirs of this valuable and irreplaceable resource. By installing a mural of preserved landscapes in the HUB galleries, students are made aware of farmland preservation and its importance in keeping communities sustainable and connected. The mural also brings attention to the quality and significance of Pennsylvania’s soils, which are considered some of the most fertile in the world.

By engaging art and agriculture students in painting murals of preserved farmland, the student body passing through the HUB galleries come face to face with similar landscapes that surround much of State College and Centre County. For an art student, this may spur an interdisciplinary experience with agriculture. For an agriculture student, this project may be their first experience with mural painting. By bringing the murals inside, students are challenged with the academic side of agriculture, innovation, sustainability and community within the walls of a building meant for activities of partnership and the very sustenance that farming supports.

17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

At the heart of my project is the goal of slowing environmental degradation so that communities will be enriched by the furthering of our statewide county programs to preserve our farmland, protect farming jobs and help usher in a new generation of farmers and sustainable, community based food systems for quality employment and enjoyment.

Preserved farmland includes a conservation plan to retain and protect the resources on the property and protect adjacent properties from pollution and waste water runoff. This is particularly important in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, which makes up a large portion of Pennsylvania and includes the Appalachian Mountains.

In times of pandemic, the need for access to local farmland is more important than ever. County farmland preservation programs incorporate the use of county, state, federal and local funds to purchase agricultural conservation easements on prime agricultural land from willing landowners, ensuring that taxpayer money is used to preserve the most fertile soils in perpetuity.

For more information about farmland preservation, please visit:
Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Association

Preserving Our Farmland is a mural and print series celebrating our rich agricultural history and farmland stewardship in Pennsylvania.

Please visit my online shop!

For each print sold, $25 will be donated to the Cumberland County Agricultural Land Preservation Program.