[permaculture] Lawyers and Scientists Team Up to Protect Amish Farm Land (Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 22:14:39 +0000)

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Mon Jun 15 03:28:24 EDT 2015

Lawyers and Scientists Team Up to Protect Amish Farm Land (Date: Tue,
6 Feb 1996 22:14:39
>From RESCLOVE at amherst.eduTue Feb  6 23:00:54 1996
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 1996 22:14:39 +0000
From: RESCLOVE at amherst.edu
Reply to: SAED-SHARE-L at cornell.edu
To: SAEd-Share-L at cornell.edu
Subject: Collaboration for farmland preservation

Hello, SAEd-Share folks:

This looked generally interesting, a case of farm community/scientist
action research collaboration related to farmland preservation in Ohio.

I have cut some - for original, see e-mail below.

Thanks, Nancy Grudens Schuck

Subject: (Long) 1st issue: Science & Enviro-Activism newsletter
From:   IN%"75114.1164 at compuserve.com"  "Carolyn Raffensperger" 19-JAN-1996
Subj:   SEHN Newsletter - The Networker

The Newsletter of the Science and Environmental Health Network
January, 1996 - Volume 1, #1

Lawyers and Scientists Team Up to Protect Amish Farm Land

        This past spring SEHN received a phone call from an Amish
farmer named David Kline, in Holmes County, Ohio. Holmes County has
more Amish residents than any other county in the U.S., including
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  (The Amish are a farm-based,
conservative religious group that have refused much of modern
technology. They are known for their communal activities such as
barn-raisings, their plain clothes, and their separation from
government in matters of the military and schooling.)  David described
the pressure his county was experiencing from residential and
commercial development.  Over sixty percent of all the Amish in that
county have left farming and are working in factories making
furniture. It appears that a major cause of the Amish leaving farms is
the exorbitant cost of farmland in an area that is experiencing
serious development pressures. David said that the Amish of Holmes
County had no hope for their land or their way of life.

        When the Amish no longer farm and the land is developed with
ranchettes and factories, the loss to environmental quality is
difficult to quantify.  How do we measure the loss of bird habitat, or
carefully tended farm land?  Even if we can't measure the changes
directly, the losses are real.

        SEHN put together a team of land use lawyers and economists
who are now working with the Amish to protect their land.  The team is
lead by Fred Bosselman of Chicago-Kent College of Law, Luther Probst
from the Sonoran Institute and Carolyn Raffensperger of SEHN.  The
lawyers and scientists have begun piecing together a package of tax
incentives, land trusts, estate planning tools and other mechanisms to
protect the value of agricultural land.  Our Amish friends have said
that this team has restored hope to the county.

        One of the lessons we at SEHN have learned over the past year
is how important all the sciences are to environmental protection.
The Holmes County Project has required economists and other social
scientists to craft a protection plan that will work for this
particular locale and this unique culture.

        If you would like to know more about Holmes County, David
Kline wrote a book entitled "Great Possessions, An Amish Farmer's
Journal".  This is an elegiac account of the seasons on his farm.   It
describes what would be lost if we don't help protect these rural

How to Find a Scientist

        SEHN recently completed a Handbook called "Scientists and
Grassroots Organizations: Good Work That Matters - A Handbook for
Citizens and Scientists Working Together to Solve Environmental
Problems".  Written by Mary O'Brien, the Handbook describes methods a
grassroots group can use to find a scientist to assist with
environmental or public health problems which require scientific
expertise.  The Handbook has a matching section which speaks to the
scientist who wishes to engage in public service by volunteering with
a grassroots group.

        The Introduction describes what the Handbook is about.  It
says, "[t]his Handbook reflects our belief that the cause of
environmental protection is well-served by grassroots groups working
closely with scientists who voluntarily contribute their expertise for
the good of the earth.   Scientists have unique skills that citizens
need to solve local environmental problems.  And citizens have unique
wisdom based on observation and evaluation that enhances the work
scientists can do.

        The evolution of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring demonstrates
the extraordinary potential of scientist/citizen collaboration.
Carson, a trained zoologist and career biologist began research on DDT
in response to a plea from a citizen who had watched songbirds die in
a nearby marsh.

        While there are many scientists willing to provide
professional help, its not always easy for public interest groups to
find the right kind of expertise or scientists with a pro bono ethic.
This Handbook gives some ideas about how to find scientists and how to
work with them to solve environmental problems.  The second half of
the Handbook gives some ideas to scientists who may want to volunteer
their time in a professional capacity with an environmental group."

        This Handbook is available electronically or as a paper copy.
If you would like to receive it by E-Mail, send your request to
Carolyn Raffensperger at 75114.1164 at compuserve.com.  Or send a
self-addressed stamped envelope with $.52 postage to SEHN, Rt. 1 Box
73, Windsor North Dakota 58424.

END - Cuts made to above --

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