The voters of San Luis Obispo are about to decide on the Dalidio Marketplace. For me, a rural Creston farmer, this is nothing less than the defining litmus test for the larger San Luis Obispo County community. This test has one fundamental question: do we want to keep viable agriculture in the county or not?
Our county's great allure and magic is the quality of life it affords: open space, clean air, recreation, agricultural resources, etc. The vast majority of us came here for these qualities, and we wish them to be preserved. There lies the great dilemma and paradox: as more and more come here to capture "their" share of the good life, that very quality of life is diminished.
The Marketplace question affords us the opportunity to ask ourselves, and each other, "isn't there a better way?"
My firm belief is that agriculture is the cornerstone of the answer. More specifically, a local, sustainable food system in which more of the food consumed locally is also produced and processed locally. Those who will ultimately determine this are the consumers. It is consumer demand that will drive our local culture.
Why not make this the time we draw the line and commit to protecting agriculture and developing more food systems? Our collective future, and perhaps more, lies in how you, the voters of San Luis Obispo, choose.
This farmer hopes you think long and hard, and then choose wisely.