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Farms to Cradle: Inequity in Preserving the Garden State Green Belt


Donovan Kirkland is a practicing architectural designer in New Jersey and New York. His studies in design school and practice changed the way he understood the built environment. Naturally he turned a critical eye towards his own environment and the common places, objects, and systems we take for granted. Donovan is interested in studying sustainable methods for future land planning and development.


This project examines the inequities of farmland preservation and New Jersey. As defined by the state, “New Jersey’s farmlands are the foundation for a strong agricultural industry and a way of life for generations of farm families. Scenic landscapes of green, productive fields are an important part of what makes New Jersey a desirable place to live.” However, the state fails to address what populations actually reap the benefits of the preserved land. While preservation efforts are publicly funded state wide, benefits are often localized. Through the case study of several farms throughout the state, anti development NIMBYism, agritourism, and other local, or private interests have proven to play a significant role in the preservation efforts rather than regional planning, ecological, and food security incentives. This dynamic further highlights the fracture in environmental movements between “white” and “black” environmentalism; where the former is concerned with preserving the benefits of environment and the latter is consumed with the consequences of the environment.  

Keywords: Race, Class, Business, Popular Culture, Food