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.  In March, Agrarian Trust was fiscally sponsored by the Schumacher Center for a New Economics under the direction of Severine von Tscharner Fleming and Kendra Johnson. One month later, “Affording Our Land: A Guide to Farm Finance” and the first 14 working case models were published online to be used by retiring and new farmers, land trusts, and other stakeholders.

This fall we look forward to convening another brain-trust meeting of stakeholders and advisers in Saratoga Springs, New York.  In partnership with RAFI and Farmaid we will continue the design discourse, gather more case models, and hear testimony about loss of land-rights in the southern farming community, and how to create systems of intervention that anticipate opportunities to build security and equity for economically marginal actors.

At this meeting we will define a vision for how land access can positively shape a new kind of agrarian political economy, an ethos appropriate to current conditions, evolving the 18th century Jeffersonial land-use theory to reflect an updated mission: to retrofit, restore and resettle the land with prosperous farms serving the regional economy.