Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soccer Fields or an Organic Farm?

Change.org is worked up over Montgomery County's decision to end a lease of some land to an organic farmer. The County wants to make money by leasing the land to a "private soccer organization" who will build soccer fields and charge kids to play there (presumably by enrolling them in leagues). One protester argues that the County already has over 500 soccer fields. Another asks, "Why not put the soccer fields on the roof of the new school? Why not build a parking garage under the school?"

I can see both sides of this: can you? Soccer fields on the roof? I don't think so. Parking garage under the school? You have a couple extra billion you're willing to chip in? Regardless of the number of extant soccer fields, if the County stands to make bank from leasing this out, then maybe they can provide better police protection to some of the scarier parts of their county. Maybe they can improve their Community Support Network for people with disabilities. Maybe they can invest more in training landscape contractors to build in Rainscapes, to limit the damage rainfall runoff does to the Bay, or restore and stabilize stream banks. On the other hand, organic fields including investments of 30 years of careful GMO-free farming deserve protection.

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The above is the first blog entry Econ 376 students are responsible for in the Fall 2011 semester.

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