Community should have a hand in land use decisions

I am a vegetable and fruit farmer and have something to say about the southwest Orem area, also known as the Lake View area. All farmers are very concerned about land because it is their primary resource for doing their job. The best vegetable growing lands are river delta deposit. This type of soil is usually soft sandyloam, which can grow beautiful and abundant vegetable crops, especially root crops such as carrots, beets and potatoes.

At the Wilkerson vegetable farm on 2000 South, we have grown as much as 30,000 pounds per acre of carrots. This area has some of the best vegetable-growing lands in the state of Utah, and Utah has little of delta deposit soils. These type of lands need to be preserved for food production as they have that capacity like no other, and they are scarce in our state.

Some do not think we need to worry about local food production. Some think we can rely on imported food. The recent pandemic shows the how fragile our food system is and how fast it can fail. Before you allow any more of this valuable food land to be housed over and forever destroyed, you need to have a broad community discussion, not a closed online meeting. It’s the community that needs to decide what should happen to these scarce food lands, not the Planning Department. It is the community that should decide if they wish to destroy their ability to grow their own food.

— Richard C. Wilkerson, Orem