Amidst the tumult and transformation in the world and the nation right now, Agrarian Trust, with the support of our incredible community has launched ten Agrarian Commons, and made significant progress on our first farm fundraiser. We are inspired and sustained by your support and resilience during this whirlwind of a time.
On May 1st, 2020, ten Agrarian Commons filed for legal incorporation with the help of farmers, local community stakeholders, land trust practitioners, and attorneys. Over the coming months, Agrarian Trust is launching project-specific fundraisers to fully transition 12 farm properties and 2,400 acres of diversified agriculture into the Agrarian Commons (AC) model to serve local and regional communities across the country.
We are proud to report that we raised $324,000 in just over one month to support the Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons in the acquisition of a 107 acre organic farm in Wales, Maine. Once acquired by the Agrarian Commons, this land will be conveyed to the Somali Bantu Community Association via a 99+ year rolling lease that will provide land access and tenure to over 180 Somali Bantu families. This project is demonstrating a tremendous display of support for transformation in land ownership, tenure and equity.
We are overwhelmed by the surge of community support from individual donors, philanthropic funds, and aligned business and organizations thus far. To date there have been over 1,450 individual donors – 70% local to Maine – with the average individual donation between $100 and $150. We urge you to learn more about the inspiring story of the Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons, the local farms and food businesses supporting this land transition, and our partnership with the Somali Bantu Community Association. Thank you to all who have contributed!
Please stay tuned and continue to spread the word as this fundraiser continues and we launch our next fundraiser at New Roots Community Farm in West Virginia. We ask you to engage locally as fundraisers launch to make each of the founding Agrarian Commons a reality. We’re grateful for your attention, support, and contributions as we work together in this land transformation.
The Agrarian Commons team
// UPCOMING FUNDRAISER: MIDDLE TENNESSEE AGRARIAN COMMONS //
Next up is a big transition at Windy Acres Farm, the first certified organic grain farm in Tennessee! With more than three decades of community support, and seven-year rotational management of 470+ acres, Alfred and Carney Farris grew organic grain, crops, and pasture for three decades at Windy Acres Farm. Alfred passed away this February, and his legacy will live on with the transition of the farm into the Middle Tennessee Agrarian Commons. In 2018, next generation farmers Sam and Lyle Harvey moved their pastured meat operation to the farm. Follow along as this Agrarian Commons works to preserve the legacy of Alfred and Carney Farris as the foundation for soil building and food producing regenerative agriculture for generations to come, starting with Sam and Lyle Harvey, the next generation of farmers to steward this land.
Watch this video to learn more about the Middle Tennessee AC, and look out for fundraiser details launching soon!
// SO, WHAT IS THE AGRARIAN COMMONS MODEL EXACTLY? //
Since the launch of the Agrarian Commons, we have received questions from many of you asking how the Agrarian Commons model works, and what it means to different people within a community. We hear you! In response to your questions, check out this new content on the Agrarian Commons website:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we answer your questions ranging from basic information about the Agrarian Commons model, to financial considerations, relationship with Agrarian Trust, and steps to start an Agrarian Commons.
We asked farmers, funders, land trusts, and other stakeholders to share what the Agrarian Commons model means to them. Check out this page to hear about the AC model from their perspectives.
Featuring Garden Variety Harvests, West Virginia Agrarian Commons:
“I’m really excited about the idea that we can engage in agriculture on our own terms, and that’s what I think the Agrarian Commons represents for me. I don’t need to own the land, what I need is secure tenure on the land. The Agrarian Commons model really embodies these ideas of equity, dignity, affordability, and community ownership and that’s why I’m excited to be part of the Commons.”
Cam Terry, Garden Variety Harvests
// LEARN MORE : 10 FOUNDING AGRARIAN COMMONS //
We encourage you to check out each local Agrarian Commons for more information and illustrations to better understand the unique nature of each Commons.
Explore each of the 10 local Agrarian Commons:
Capay Valley California • Little Jubba Central Maine • Middle Tennessee • Montana • New Hampshire • Puget Sound Washington •
Southeast Minnesota • Southwest Virginia •
Vermont • West Virginia
// AGRARIAN TRUST ENGAGEMENT//
Agrarian Trust is working to increase engagement in the local Agrarian Commons model and raise capital to bring about farm transfers at the foundation of all ten founding Agrarian Commons. Can you think of an event or organization who we should connect with? Please reply to share your ideas for other aligned events we should be part of!
The Agrarian Commons model was featured at the following webinars, events, and conversations. Events that were recorded include links to recordings:
Little Jubba Central Maine AC webinar A community presentation to share the Agrarian Commons model and the work of the Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons.
Farming in Southwest Virginia New Economy Network and Appalachian Voices co-hosted this presentation to facilitate learning about the Agrarian Commons model and the work of the Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons.
Patagonia panel at Annual Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems Funders (SAFS) Forum Agrarian Trust was a featured speaker alongside other grantees Patagonia identifies as doing important work addressing barriers for farmers and ranchers transitioning toward regenerative practices.
Maine Slow Money and Maine Initiative community workshop Agrarian Trust presented at a community workshop gathering alongside Slow Money Maine and Maine Initiatives to engage Maine’s philanthropic community in the work of the Little Jubba AC and connections to other Agrarian Commons.
Chipotle Aluminaries Agrarian Trust and the Agrarian Commons model was selected to receive mentoring and customized support from industry leaders.
Kalliopeia Foundation land relationships conversations Agrarian Trust and FaithLands participated in a series of relationship awareness building conversations centered around our connections to land.
Conscious Capitalism community meeting Conscious Capitalism’s community meeting engaged Maine’s aligned business community in the work of the Little Jubba Agrarian Commons and made connections to other Agrarian Commons.
USDA/NRCS Agricultural Management Assistance staff presentation Agrarian Trust presented the Agrarian Commons model to highlight active farm projects relevant to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), and Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Day One project Agrarian Trust was invited to help develop a recommended set of actionable policy ideas and agenda priority regarding regenerative agriculture for the next administration, in collaboration with 20 science and technology leaders.
// PRESS & MEDIA //
The Agrarian Commons model has generated considerable interest and engagement. Recent press coverage below. Full list of press and media is available on our website
Civil Eats: Could Putting Farmland in the Commons Support Land Justice and Sustainability? (July 6)
Concord Monitor: All the good vibes in the world may not be enough for a farmer who doesn’t own the land (June 15)
Mother Earth: Agrarian Commons: Community-Supported Agriculture’s Role in Recovery (May 21)
Civil Eats: An Enormous Land Transition is Underway. Here’s How to Make it Just. (February 24)
Agrarian Trust: Harnessing the Power of Local: The Benefits and Methods of Local Food Aggregation (Guest Post): Read from volunteer contributor Frankie Wallace on the importance of food aggregation and Agrarian Commons
// SHARE AGRARIAN COMMONS WITH A FRIEND! //
Do you have friends, neighbors, community members, or other relations that would be interested in learning more about Agrarian Commons?
Share our Press Release and Summaries of the Agrarian Commons
Request a complete Press Kit by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Post about Agrarian Commons on social media, or share via @agrariantrust on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
We welcome donations, including gifts of land, to support Agrarian Trust and the Agrarian Commons model.