AGRARIAN COMMONS CREATION COMMITTEE


Agrarian Commons Creation Committees met throughout 2019 and into the spring of 2020 to co-create documents and agreements to guide the first cohort of Agrarian Commons. Two Committees brought together national leaders, innovators, stakeholders, and aligned organizations to ensure broad and diverse perspectives and experience informed the launch of Agrarian Commons. Agrarian Trust hosted and facilitated both Committees, and we are grateful for the expertise and thoughtfulness of participants. Comments and reflections from the group will be published as open source “commons” by Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems.


Janelle Orsi, Neil Thapar, Sara Stephens, Cameron Rhudy, and other attorneys at Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) initiated the process of developing open source “commons” legal tools for community-owned farmland and equitable tenure for farmers in 2015 that we continued through Committee discussions. The 2019 Committee included advisors, organizational partners, attorneys, and farmland access and tenure practitioners who refined SELC’s draft documents and created templates. The 2020 Committee, composed of founding farmers, community stakeholders, and Agrarian Commons founding board members, localized these documents, refining legal language that covers these topics:


·  Farmer equity and tenure security with equitable lease/ground lease 

·  Agrarian Commons 501(c)(2) and 501(c)(25) bylaws 

·  Cultural respect easements 

·  Legal language to prohibit market-based sale of land 

·  Options to ensure active farming and stewardship 

·  Farm standards, forest standards, and ecological stewardship standards and agreements


Comments, questions, and reflections that stemmed from both processes clarified legal methods and governance choices to integrate racial and economic equity and further land justice in the founding of Agrarian Commons. Stay tuned for the Center for Agriculture and Food System’s publication “The Legal Foundation for Community-held Farmland” that dives into the collective comments and ideas Committees shared through discussions and edits. With this guide, we hope communities can adapt legal documents and considerations to their own goals. It will also address equity concerns and cultural issues that demand new legal thinking and assist with determining creative ways farmers with lifetime leases can build equity.


Check out Agrarian Commons Alliance to stay in the loop with Agrarian Commons news—periodic updates, founding legal documents, access to the work of each Agrarian Commons and the collective cohort, invitations to online conversations and presentations, and networking opportunities.


2019 Committee

Agrarian Trust Team

Rachel Armstrong, Farm Commons, MN

Clark Arrington, The Working World, CT

Laura Bozzi, Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative, CT

Ted Bellinger, New Venture Advisors, LLC, CO

Amy Laura Cahn, Conservation Law Foundation, MA

Miranda Christy, Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, PC, and TN Agrarian Commons attorney, TN

Sara Dewey, Conservation Law Foundation, MA

Jonah Fertig-Burd, Cooperative Development Institute, ME

Rebecca Fletcher, Equity Trust, MA

Mike Ghia, Land for Good, VT

Jennifer Hashley, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, MA

Emma Hempstead, Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, PA

Dorothy Hinkle-Uhlig, Yggdrasil Land Foundation, AL

Jillian Hishaw, F.A.R.M.S, NC

Kendra Johnson, California FarmLink, and CA Agrarian Commons Advancement, CA

Keefe Keeley, Savanna Institute, WI

Kristin King-Ries, Trust Montana, MT

Sophia Kruszewski, Vermont Law School Center for Agriculture and Food Systems, VT

Konrad Liegel, private practice, and WA Agrarian Commons attorney, WA

Amy Manzelli, BCM Environmental Land Law, and NH Agrarian Commons attorney, NH

Nellie McAdams, Rogue Farm Corps, OR

Jeff Mendelsohn, Local Code, CA

Ethan Miller, Land in Common, ME

Stephanie Morningstar, The Northeast Farmers of Color network, Ontario, Oneida

Jim Oldham, Equity Trust, MA

Holly-Rippon Butler, National Young Farmers Coalition, NY

Laurie Ristino, George Washington University Law School, Strategies for a Sustainable Future, NH

Connor Stedman, AppleSeed Permaculture, MA

Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA

Neil Thapar, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA

Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, Quivira Coalition, NM

Çaca Yvaire, The Northeast Farmers of Color network, RI


2020 Committee

Agrarian Trust Team
Paul Muller, Full Belly Farm, CA
Tim Mueller, River Dog Farm, CA
Thomas Nelson, Kitchen Table Advisors, CA
Gwenael Engelskirchen, Agricultural Sustainability Institute, UC Davis, CA
Cameron Rhudy, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA
Lana Cannon Dracup, Liberation Farms, ME
Libah Muhidin, Somali Bantu Community Association, ME
Kristina Kalolo, Liberation Farms, ME
Abby Sadauckas, Land for Good, ME
Erica Buswell, Maine Farmland Trust, ME
Beth Boepple, BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC, ME
Ashley Bahlkow, Somali Bantu Community Association, ME
Jonah Fertig-Burd, Cooperative Development Institute, ME
Ethan Miller, Land in Common, ME
Gamana A. Yarow, Somali Bantu Community Association, ME
Sahal A. Jimale, Somali Bantu Community Association, ME
Julie Ristau, Main Street Project, MN
Susan Stokes, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, MN
Robin Moore, Land Stewardship Project, MN
Josie Trople, Main Street Project, MN
Andrew Ehrmann, Spring Wind Farm, MN
Kristin King-Ries, Trust Montana, MT
Hermina Harold, Trust Montana, MT
Luke Mahoney, Brookford Farm, NH
Catarina Mahoney, Brookford Farm, NH
Jeremiah Vernon, Vernon Family Farm, NH
Nicole Vernon, Vernon Family Farm, NH
Amy Manzelli, BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC, NH
Jeremy Lougee, Southeast Land Trust of NH, NH
Jamie Bemis, Three Sisters Ecofarm and Bright Power, Inc., NH
Deb Abrahams-Dematte, Anthroposophical Society and Monadnock Community Land Trust, NH
Sam Harvey, Free Range Farm/Windy Acres Farm, TN
Lyle Harvey, Free Range Farm/Windy Acres Farm, TN
Dan Raines, Windy Acres Farm, TN
Evelyn Raines, Windy Acres Farm, TN
Miranda Christy, Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, PC, TN
Kim Kirkbride, New River Land Trust, VA
Suzanne Pierce, CowanPerry PC, VA
Cameron Terry, Garden Variety Harvests, VA
Nikki D’adamo Damery, Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, VA
Michael Carter, Jr. Carter Family Farms and Virginia State University, VA
Brandon Bless, Bread and Butter Farm, VT
Corie Pierce, Bread and Butter Farm, VT
Alison Nihart, University of Vermont, VT
Fran Miller, Vermont Law School, VT
Jason Van Drieshe, Front Porch Forum, VT
Joyce Cellars, CPG Enterprises, Inc., VT
Sheramy Tsai, registered nurse, VT
Konrad Liegel, Konrad J. Liegel Attorney At Law, PLLC, WA
Elizabeth Dunne, Dunne Law, WA
Judy Feldman, Organic Farm School, WA
Addie Candib, American Farmland Trust, WA
Susanna Wheeler, New Roots Community Farm, WV
Adam Hodges, WV State University, WV
Josh Stover, Stover Heritage Farms, WV
Mike Smith, Fayette County Urban Renewal Authority, WV
Linda Stein, New River Health Association, WV
Liz Campbell, Fayette County Assistant Prosecutor, WV


Attorneys

Kristin King-Ries, Trust Montana, MT
Amy Manzelli, BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC, NH
Miranda Christy, Dodson Parker Behm & Capparella, PC, TN
Suzanne Pierce, CowanPerry PC, VA
Fran Miller, Vermont Law School, VT
Konrad Liegel, Konrad J. Liegel Attorney At Law, PLLC, WA
Elizabeth Dunne, Dunne Law, WA
Liz Campbell, Fayette County Assistant Prosecutor, WV
Beth Boepple, BCM Environmental & Land Law, PLLC, ME
Susan Stokes, Farmers’ Legal Action Group, MN
Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA
Neil Thapar, Sustainable Economies Law Center, CA
Jillian Hishaw, F.A.R.M.S., NC
Emma Hempstead, FairShake Environmental Legal Services, PA
Sara Dewey, Conservation Law Foundation, MA
Amy Laura Cahn, MA
Rachel Armstrong, Farm Commons
Clark Arrington, The Working World, CT