NYC mulls tax dollars for farmland preservation

Even as absurd NYC policy ideas go, this one’s a doozy [Seth Barron, City Journal]:

To encourage a “sustainable, resilient food system,” New York’s city council has proposed a $5 million municipal farm-subsidy program, under which the city would buy development easements in the Hudson Valley. In this way, the council plans to help feed “3 million New Yorkers liv[ing] in neighborhoods without adequate supermarkets.” It’s alarming to consider that New York could suffer food shortages so acute that the city government must establish its own agricultural supply chain.

EDITED, see comments: Correspondent Carl Edman shares an anecdote on Twitter of a Soviet dignitary visiting London who asked about the bureau in charge of food supply to the city “and was shocked when told that there was no such thing and nobody in charge. At least that won’t happen in future NYC!”


  • NYC, becoming more like Venezuela all the time.

  • Not in the 1970s:

    “Shortly after the Soviet Union collapsed, a Russian bureaucrat travelled to the west to seek advice on how the market system functioned. He asked the economist Paul Seabright to explain who was in charge of the supply of bread to London. He was astonished by the answer: “Nobody.””

    1990, 1991. One of Yeltsin’s people asked the question.

  • If you need something screwed up even further, get the Gubmint involved.
    “Government is not the solution, Government is the problem!”

  • Somehow I see the entire $5 million being used for the bureaucracy just to get it through the first meeting of the initial planning stage. Figure on $100M in the 1st year to feed 3 people. Then because of it’s “success” it will be expanded to reach 6 people at a cost of $250M in year 2.

    After that you can forget about ever cutting it, I mean, think of the children!

  • The reason I recall the Seabright story, and that Clear Lake one, was that I was living and working in Moscow at the time. Still had food rationing. And then, as a result of what Yeltsin and others learned in that period, they simply abolished all food price controls.

    It was entirely astonishing what happened. Food blossomed out of every crevice of the city in a matter of weeks. Actually living through it was extraordinarily educational. At that time I was, oooh, late 20s or so? Had a degree in economics and so on. But that experience turned me from a roughly centrist middle of the road type to the full on red in tooth and claw free marketeer that I am.

    There’s nothing quite like living in the rubble of socialism to do that to you.