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Agrarian Trust’s mission is to support land access for next generation farmers.
In the next two decades, it is predicted that 400 million acres of U.S. farmland will change hands. What happens to that land when it reaches the market is crucial to the future of our food system, and current trends point in the wrong direction. The price of land in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the past decade, driven by an unregulated, speculative marketplace, international investment, a distorted subsidy system, and by unrestrained development pressure.
In this crucial moment of land transition, a new generation of farmers has emerged. The demand for organic food is strong and growing, and with a changing climate, the urgency for restoration, ecological stewardship, and conservation is becoming more evident. Yet the majority of young farmers and beginning farmers of all ages struggle with land access, affordability, and tenure. The price of farmland is not justified by the profitability of the farming business, stacking the odds against today’s incoming agrarians.
We need to chart the way forward. We need to hold our precious farmland in a trust for its best uses: sustainable food production and collective, ecological stewardship. We must also help the incoming organic leadership build on the legacy of our organic elders, many who have been farming for more than 30 years, and keep organic land in production. We need to support the stakeholders engaged in complex land succession, with all the accounting, estate planning, retirement planning and legal and technical assistance that is necessary. We need a national conversation that leads to action and traction for sustainable farming at the foundation of a new, just and equitable economy. Finally, we need policy reform to strengthen democratic ownership and control of our nation’s farmland.
What We Do
Through leadership in farmland conservation, transfer and tenure, our many events and gatherings, and our Agrarian Legal Support initiative, we support all stakeholders, from farmers and farmland owners to communities and activists, educators, and investors. Our team has more than 60 years of combined experience in agriculture and farmland conservation. We offer a variety of services, initiatives, and resources that support farmers, organizations, and communities.
Resource Support, Advising & Consultation
Agrarian Commons, Agrarian Legal Support, FaithLands & more…
Our ever-growing list of free and affordable resources…
Agrarian Trust | Land News Blog
Starting seeds in early Spring has become a rhythm for me. Just as the snow begins to recede from the hilltops and the ice begins to travel down the river, I can be found in a greenhouse with dirt under my nails, working tired muscles that have become accustomed to hibernation. I hold these tiny natural jewels in my hands, and I am overwhelmed by the potential.
As I set foot in the lands that belong to my grandmother that she is currently renting out, I don’t recognize that land anymore. The tenant is growing yuca, or cassava. We never grew that while the land was under our management. Growing up, we would visit my grandma’s conuco in the countryside, the farm field or plantation with plantain trees, and some fruit trees and plants like grapefruit and sugar cane. I would run around picking up flowers and cherry tomatoes growing unchecked in the field. It’s thirty tareas in the Dominican land measuring system, or almost two hectares in Hato Viejo, Cayetano Germosen, Espaillat, Dominican Republic.
Our founding board member Severine von Tscharner Fleming inspires us to consider the question, “What does the land want?” in her latest talk as a Fellow with the Edmund Hillary Fellowship based in New Zealand.
The Woodland Community Land Trust was incorporated in 1979, making it one of the oldest Community Land Trusts (CLTs) established in the United States. Located in the Clearfork Valley of northeastern Tennessee, a low-income Appalachian community dominated by extractive industry and concentrated land holding, economic, and political power, Woodland recently marked its 40th year in operation. Today, Woodland’s vision of community ownership still resounds in possibilities for Appalachian people and confronts the realities of peasant land dispossession throughout U.S. history and worldwide.
We’re thrilled to welcome Josie Walker to our team as our Eastern North Carolina Project Coordinator for FaithLands, a coalition-led initiative that supports faith communities in making lands available for sustainable, agroecological farming, especially to those in society marginalized by virtue of class, race, gender, economic status, and other factors.
“Cuba is a great example of how organic farming could supersede conventional agriculture.” —Food First’s Madaly Alcala
Agrarian Trust Quarterly Newsletter
Get the latest on our work to support land access for the next generation of farmers