History

Agrarian Trust was conceived in January 2013 by a 30-member team of farmers, ranchers, lawyers, conservationists, farm-service providers, philanthropists, farm business advisers, technical assistants, agricultural economists and accountants at Paicines Ranch, Paicines California.

Our mission is threefold:

1. Build the issue of land transfer. What Henry George called “The Land Question.”

2.  Support stakeholders (landowners, new farmers, investors, farm service providers, farm heirs, farmland owners) to make good decisions for the best interest of the land and its stewards

3. Build a Farmland Commons to hold the land, a gold standard that provokes a powerful conversation about the commons.

After another convening at Paicines Ranch in January 2014, we released a set of principles, which we made public at the 2 day, OUR LAND Symposium in April of 2014.

Agrarian Trust is happy to be partnering with the Sustainable Economies Law Center of Berkeley California in writing the legal language to hold land in the farmland commons. We hope to be ready to take in farms by April 2015, primarily via ” land gifting” in the tradition of the Bhoodan movement.

The trust design is based on the work of Terre De Liens, a French group that has protected more than 100 organic farms, as well as the principles gathered from our stakeholder community during the Paicines sessions.

The design is informed by the question: “What does the land want?” And how can we arrange the social and economic relationships around that goal. Through our work we can preserve affordable farmland for sustainable agriculture, in perpetuity. In the face of land grabbing, speculation, financialization and farmland loss to development– we know the power of example to provoke a conversation about the foundation of our economy.

On our site you’ll find many useful resources including a guidebook: Affording Our Land, a young farmers guide to farm finance. We also have a blog of “Land News” and over 70 documented Land Access Stories & Strategies, which will continue to grow. We are committed to tracking, and interpreting innovative models of partnership, lease-to-own, community finance, and land-gifting, and welcome your suggestions of more leads to follow up on. You can also find a comprehensive resource list and geocoded map, access to a network of Agrarian Lawyers, and the Kiva Zip program.

For landowners and land-seekers, check out the Land Listings.