Living on the south end of Herndon, the closest agricultural production site is just a stone’s throw away at Frying Pan Farm Park. This agricultural production site is mainly surrounded by suburbia, with at least 450 single family homes and 30 connected townhouses lying within ¼ mile of the farm (see Image 1). There are absolutely no retail stores or industrial office buildings near the farm, but there are three churches, an elementary school, and a firehouse within ¼ mile (see Image 2).
This nearby suburban development will end up having quite a substantial impact over the future years, with the majority of the problems stemming from the massive influx of population to the area. With such a population influx comes a considerable increase in farm visitors, causing it to be abnormally active with people (compared to our normal perspective on “production” farms which probably do not allow visitors). Such an abnormal amount of visitors can cause any farm environment to become unbalanced, allowing it to be overrun with problems ranging from increased litter to issues between pets and livestock.
On the issue of litter, it really doesn’t matter if this production farm is technically a county park, more people will always equal more litter. This normally causes problems in all environments, but it is especially troublesome when vulnerable livestock such as cows, pigs, goats, horses, sheep, rabbits, and a peacock are roaming around unsupervised (Home). Not only can such livestock be hurt by the litter in the short-term (e.g., by ingestion), but they can also suffer long-term from gradual seepage into the local water table. A higher surrounding population also means a higher pet population. Normally this isn’t an issue on a farm, but when pets get around sensitive farm animals, it can cause them to go into a craze, tearing down fences and causing timely repairs. I see these pet problems happening in two ways: visitors not walking pets on a leash, and pets running away from the surrounding houses. Either way, the end result will not be good for such a production farm, and could lead to the death of some of their livestock (a dog could probably kill a small pig/goat if left on its own).
The farmer that operates this farm does not own this site since it is owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority. Although not owned by the farmer, I feel that they probably have complete lifelong control over the production “farming” operation of the property rather than having some temporary lease. It would not be very plausible to rotate different farmers into the site while keeping the public park environment consistent.
The main products produced at this site takes the form of livestock which are maintained for visitors more than for typical “production” livestock. The cows, pigs, goats, horses, sheep, rabbits, and peacock are “produced” and maintained in order to give visitors a true perspective into the agricultural processes taking place on a 1920’s through 1950’s farm (Home). Although this perspective brings in no revenue for the site, they do offer parties, programs, and classes on-site for a fee (Programs and Classes).
The livestock at this location is extremely appropriate solely based upon the history of the area. The purpose of the site is to show the history of farming in Fairfax County, so such livestock must be maintained because that is much like we would have seen less than a century ago. Furthermore, Frying Pan Farm appropriately chose to keep its fields as open pasture, keeping with the trend that Fairfax County used to be the largest dairy producer in Virginia, shying away from fields full of “production” crops (History).
“History.” Friends Of Frying Pan Farm Park. Friends Of Frying Pan Farm Park. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://fryingpanpark.org/?page_id=98>.
“Home.” Friends Of Frying Pan Farm Park. Friends Of Frying Pan Farm Park. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://fryingpanpark.org/>.
“Programs and Classes.” Friends Of Frying Pan Farm Park. Friends Of Frying Pan Farm Park. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://fryingpanpark.org/?page_id=421>.
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