Working for Smart Growth:
More Livable Places and Open Spaces


Farming and Agriculture

Farmland is a key economic and environmental resource for New Jersey, ranking third in importance to the state’s economy behind pharmaceuticals and tourism. A strong farm economy not only supports employment, commerce and agriculturally related tourism, but also strengthens the state’s local food system, helping to ensure access to healthy food for all residents.

In 2007, more than 80 percent of New Jersey’s farmland was in crop production, supplying apples, blueberries, cranberries, peaches, strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, hay and soybeans, with a market value of nearly $850 million. Livestock production represented another $138 million in market value.

Growth in New Jersey, however, has put the state’s farm economy at risk. From 1982 to 2007, New Jersey lost approximately 27 percent of its agricultural land to development. This trend has slowed recently, cutting in half the rate of loss, from more than 6 percent between 1997 and 2002 to less than 3 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Smart growth supports the preservation of farmland by directing development away from agricultural land and preserving that land for farm use. A range of mechanisms at both the state and local levels – including low-density residential and agricultural zoning, preservation easements, transfers and purchases of development rights, cluster development, development buffers, right-to-farm legislation, permitting farm stands by right and favorable tax policies for agricultural production — have been used to prioritize the preservation of agricultural land.

Future Facts
Can Somerset County Attract Millennials?

A report from a studio class at the Bloustein School examines Somerset County’s opportunities to attract Millennials.

Cluster Development Bill Sails through the Assembly

New Jersey Assembly overwhelmingly approves the cluster development bill, which could see a Senate vote as soon as May 13.

New Jersey State Plan Update Back On Track

The process that will lead to adoption of the State Strategic Plan is moving forward once again, with a final public hearing now scheduled.

Solar installation over parking lot at Stockton College.
Sustainable Sites Can Accommodate New Jersey’s Solar Needs

Incentives for solar facility development on brownfields and landfills should be made more attractive than incentives to develop on farmland and other open lands.

Preserving Land through Market Real Estate Transactions: Nine Approaches and Four Success Stories

A new report from New Jersey Future examines the use of non-contiguous clustering in nine New Jersey municipalities as a land-preservation tool.

Articles and Stories
Growing New Jersey; Protecting our Future

Oct. 22, 2014 — At the ballot box this Nov. 4, the Legislature has given the citizens a new opportunity to support and fund open-space, farmland and historic preservation, by approving a re-allocation of a portion of the share of corporate business taxes that is currently dedicated to various environmental programs.

A Farm in the City, Providing More Than Food

2016 Smart Growth Awards: One person’s vision has led to the transformation of an abandoned lot in East Trenton into an urban farm that will provide food, job training and education to nearby residents.

Preserving Land through Market Real Estate Transactions

This report from New Jersey Future examines the use of non-contiguous clustering as a land-preservation tool in nine New Jersey municipalities. May 2012.

Smart Growth FAQ

Some frequently-asked questions about how smart growth would affect New Jersey’s future development, including how it affects traffic, taxes, and land preservation.

Rendering of Woolwich Township TDR
Transfer of Development Rights and Clustering

Trransfer of development rights (TDR) and clustering are tools that municipalities in New Jersey can use to direct growth and preserve open space.

See all Future Facts and Articles in this category »

Reports, Presentations and Testimony

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