FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In the next 30 years, the Urban Land Institute expects Northwest Arkansas will double in population.

ULI is trying to ensure the area can feed this rising population, and the executive director, Wes Craiglow, said Apple Seeds Farm in Fayetteville is the perfect example of how we should be using our land.

This farm is wedged between a large neighborhood that’s under construction and a local park. It’s also surrounded by bike paths and main roads.

This gives people who live nearby access to open spaces and the local food system, but Craiglow said this concept is something that will disappear if we keep building to keep up with population growth without planning ahead.

“When that happens, you can rest assured that a lot of the agricultural landscapes that exist, those bucolic farmlands that we not only appreciate for their economic potential, but also because they’re beautiful, we can expect those landscapes to disappear,” said Craiglow.

Craiglow said if we have policies in place that allow farms to coexist with urban development, then we can keep our food more accessible and affordable.

All the new families moving to the area will have to have ways to feed themselves easily and affordably. This can be done by making sure people live close enough to grocery stores, food pantries and farms.

Emily English is a professor in the Office of Community Health and Research at UAMS. She said thirteen percent of our families experience food insecurity. This means they’re unsure where their next meal will come from.

In order to keep this percentage from rising, English said we can’t let new development push the affordable housing and farms outside of the urban areas.

“We see our gardeners and our new and beginning farmers struggling to find access to land that they can afford,” said English.

If people needing access to that food live further away, they’ll have to pay more for transportation costs.