American Farmland Trust, which promotes farmland preservation, released a study in 1998 showing that farmland in a region including Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware was among the most vulnerable in the nation to suburban growth and development. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, between 1982 and 1992, 1.1 million acres of farmland in both Virginia and Pennsylvania were developed, while Maryland lost 334,000 acres and Delaware lost 666,000.
In an effort to combat this trend, American Farmland Trust has sponsored and helped to create a Farmers’ Market at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. This allows local area farmers to sell fruits and vegetables without having to give up profits to the middleman. The Trust for Public Land’s motive is to put more money in the pockets of local farmers so they have an economic incentive to maintain their land – and keep it from real estate developers. The market is a great success and benefits both the farmers and customers.