Growing local farming in US and Canada or growing more single-family homes – which might better for society now?

In southwest Ohio, thousands of acres of former farmland have been plowed under to “plant” new communities of single family housing, as well as mini-malls, now emptying mega-malls and the paving over what used to be dirt or gravel roads over the past 50 years. The result: we have many thousands of cars being driven 30-75 miles by one person driving to and from work everyday and more and more food has to be shipped in from hundreds and thousands of miles rather than a dozen or so miles daily to local markets.

Is it time now to think about how we might encourage new farms in older suburbs and the construction of good multi-family neighborhoods to improve local nutrition, environment, society? Rethinking metropolitan areas makes more sense to me than to export farming to low income nations that also results in the destruction of old forest ecologies, so we can then import food by ship and planes…