Foodlands Cooperative of British Columbia

Sep, 27 2021 • Commons Alliance • By Taylor Plett
If you drive east from Vancouver for about an hour and a half on a Saturday morning, you can join the group of city dwellers, expats, artists and others gathering for the weekend harvest at Abundance Community Farm. “We call it the farmily,” chuckled Amir Niroumand. He purchased the land for Abundance in 2016 as a place for intentional community and collective farming. It was a risky investment – an experiment in communal responsibility – and it worked. Now, Niroumand is thinking about the future.

The Fault in Our Farming

Sep, 23 2020 • Food Systems and Security, Sustainable Farming • By Frankie Wallace
Humanity can no longer afford to ignore the myriad ways in which monoculture is unsustainable and dangerous. Widespread environmental sustainability is virtually impossible under the monoculture farming model. It seems as though we must look to the farmers and stewards of the past to protect public health into the foreseeable future.

New Report: “Driving Dispossession: The Global Push to “Unlock the Economic Potential of Land”

Jul, 14 2020 • Commons Alliance • By Agrarian Trust
driving disposessionDriving Dispossession: The Global Push to “Unlock the Economic Potential of Land,” sounds the alarm on the unprecedented wave of privatization of natural resources that is underway around the world. Through six case studies—Ukraine, Zambia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Brazil—the report details the myriad ways by which governments—willingly or under the pressure of financial institutions and Western donor agencies—are putting more land into so-called “productive use” in the name of development.

Vernon Family Farm: Joining the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons

May, 13 2020 • Agrarian Commons, Press Releases and Announcements • By Darby Weaver
Situated on 33 acres in Newfields, NH, Vernon Family Farm is a pastured poultry operation focused on regenerating soils, community, and connections to food. The chickens are raised with non-GMO grains, are USDA certified, Halal inspected, air chilled, and every part of the animal is processed and used. Along with a value added product line named “Wicked Chicken” which includes a rotisserie chicken, soup, and pot pie, the farm offers an incredible selection of cuts and preparations for their customers such as chicken sausage, ground, offal, skins, and broths. In addition to their meat offerings, Vernon Family Farm also sells rainbow eggs from their pasture raised hens and a variety of farm products from Brookford Farm and other local NH farms.

The 100 Year History of the San Pedro Commons

Sep, 30 2019 • Agrarian Commons, Commons Alliance, Land Access Stories, Land Access Strategies, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
2018 marked the hundred-year anniversary of the privatization of the San Pedro Land grant, the place where I was born and still call home. It is an arid piece of high desert, covered in piñon and juniper, located in the eastern and northern foothills of the Sandia Mountains in central New Mexico. It was an anniversary no one marked publicly, not even the heirs to the land still living in San Antonito, the village just down the road. It is part of a story lost, for the most part, to so-called progress.

Land in Common: A Bold and Patient Model for Agrarian Reform in Maine

Sep, 30 2019 • Agrarian Commons, Commons Alliance, Land Access Strategies • By Eliza Spellman Taylor
Land in Common is a Community Land Trust in Maine, born out of a community-focused, land justice centered living space that has evolved over the past twenty years. Officially founded in 2008, Land in Common is a nonprofit organization that removes land from the commodity market and places it into a member-run trust where it can be stewarded by residents. Its goal is to create “a multi-generational land base for sustainable livelihoods that supports communities working for just, cooperative, and resilient futures.”

Truthout: A Green New Deal Must Prioritize Regenerative Agriculture

May, 01 2019 • Land Access Strategies, Sustainable Farming • By Agrarian Trust
"Agrarian Trust, a nonprofit committed to supporting land access for the next generation of farmers, is experimenting with community-controlled land commons to collectively and democratically own the land, while giving 99-year leases to regenerative farmers. This model prioritizes broader community involvement and investment in local farms, while giving farmers long-term land security and equity interests so that they can fully commit to restoring the land over many decades."

Woodland Community Land Trust: An Antidote to Extraction in Rural Appalachia

Apr, 18 2019 • Commons Alliance, Land Access Strategies, Land Justice and Equity • By Eliza Spellman Taylor
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.

FaithLands Pilot Project in North Carolina Welcomes Our New Coordinator, Josie Walker

Apr, 18 2019 • Faithlands, Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
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.

Earthseed Land Collective: Farmers of Color Create Space for Collective Living & Liberation on the Land

Mar, 06 2019 • Land Access Stories, Land Access Strategies, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
The Earthseed Land Collective was formally established in 2012 by a group of black and brown farmers and social justice organizers. All in their 30s and early 40s at the time of its founding, the group currently includes seven founding members. Over the past decade, they have sought to establish a stable land base for their families and an equally grounded, self-sustaining, and welcoming hub for community building, particularly among farmers of color and food justice advocates...

Envisioning Racial Equity in Agriculture: A Groundwater Approach to Our Food System

Feb, 28 2019 • Food Systems and Security, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
In the United States today, 98% of farmland is owned by white people. That raises some critical questions. Namely, how can we in the land trust community—historically white-led and governed—achieve racial equity and social justice in our work for land access for the next generation of farmers? In our latest post, we reflect on how the Racial Equity Institute's "Groundwater Approach" provides a powerful framework for understanding racial inequity and creating systemic change.

New Hampshire’s First Affordable Whole Farm: Keeping Wingate Farm in the Family, Permanently Conserved, and Affordable for Future Farmers

Jan, 23 2019 • Land Access Stories • By Eliza Spellman Taylor
The story of Wingate Farm is firmly grounded in the rich and complex dynamics of multi-generational family farming, in which everyone must come together to plan the future of the family’s farm. Through their shared commitment and use of innovative tools to promote farmland affordability, the farmers at Wingate have ensured that the farm will remain accessible to future generations.

Looking Back to Look Forward: Expanding the Toolbox to Create Equitable, Secure & Affordable Access to Land

Dec, 18 2018 • Agrarian Trust, Land Access Strategies, Land Justice and Equity • By Jamie Pottern
That these farms are going to change hands is inevitable; that the next generation of farmers who so desperately want to farm them cannot afford to buy them is a stark reality. How can land trusts help turn the tide against the mounting barriers faced by our nation’s farmers?

Building an Agrarian Commons: Learning from Farmers & Community Organizers

Nov, 29 2018 • Agrarian Commons, Land Access Stories • By Eliza Spellman Taylor
Agrarian Trust staff had the pleasure of meeting with farmers, landowners, and organizers at Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, NY and The Watershed Center in Millerton, NY in late October. We learned a lot from our colleagues in the Hudson Valley and reflected on the economic and social aspects of our beginning agrarian commons work. Above all, it was an honor to spend time with organizations and people engaged in such compelling and inspiring place-based work with larger justice implications.

Where We’ll Will Be This Fall & Winter 2018: Agrarian Trust Newsletter

Nov, 05 2018 • Agrarian Trust, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
We hope you’ve been enjoying the changing of the seasons. We’re looking forward to the crackle of leaves and harvests of autumn—and to the many upcoming events where we’ll have the opportunity to meet and share more on our work to create a Agrarian Commons. As we travel the land, meeting with farmers and communities, we’ve been sharing our vision and documenting successful stories that inform our approach to land stewardship and equity...

Land Access Strategy: One Farmer and 8,000 Landlords at Fordhall Farm

Nov, 02 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
Fordhall Farm shows how enterprising young farmers can engage with the community, mutualise the land and put it into trusteeship using the Industrial and Provident Society structure, raise the purchase capital from members and balance community access rights with farming needs. Ben and Charlotte Hollins were given a Schumacher Award in October 2006.

Land Access Strategy: The National Trust of England

Nov, 01 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
The National Trust of England is the country’s largest owner of farmland. Agricultural land is one aspect of the organization’s conservation goals. Established in the late 1800s, with a vision for preserving the nation’s heritage and open spaces, the charity organization has continued to uphold the value of their founders. Originally established as an Association not-for-profit in 1884, the trust was soon after given more solidity through various acts of British Parliament. The organization remains independent of government and relies on grants, donors and other sources of income, rather than direct government subsidy. Some of the funds come from admission to and products from the trusts Home Farm as well as other preserved historic estates.

Land Access Strategy: Black U.S. Farmers Employ Numerous Strategies to Maintain Land Ownership and Farm Operating Independence

Nov, 01 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
Black farmers have developed countless creative and enduring responses to the challenges of discrimination and disinvestment in US agriculture. Far too many of the initiatives led by Black farmers in the past did not thrive due in part to a hostile social and political climate that devalued and discouraged their efforts. The continued work of organizations such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives helps ensure that the innovative approaches to land ownership and agricultural production developed by Black farmers will be recognized and documented, as well as carried forward by future generations. We still have much to learn from the history of Black farmers in America.

Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture (Harvard Conference)

Nov, 01 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
Concepts such as agroecology, biodynamics, permaculture, food miles, food deserts, food justice, and local food have all proliferated in both popular and scholarly venues over the past ten to fifteen years. Such a sustainable agriculture gestalt is vibrant and worthy of more sustained discussion and critical attention. In this spirit, “The Spirit of Sustainable Agriculture” aims to bring together farmers, religious and spiritual leaders, and academics, respectively, to join in a robust and stimulating discussion about the spirit of sustainable agriculture, delineating its past, celebrating and investigating its present, and theorizing its future.

Land and Water: A Long Term Perspective

Nov, 01 2018 • Agrarian Commons, Food Systems and Security, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
In the context of global warming, issues of access to land and water have been revived at a moment of disappearing land, mass migration, foreclosures, evictions, rent hikes, land grabs, and the privatization of clean water. We believe that now is a vital moment for academics and activists to enter a shared conversation about control and access to land and water, naming the most formidable challenges, the utopian models, and the important historical analogues for our present moment.

Land Access Strategy: Women Caring for the Land Program

Oct, 29 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
About 50% of Midwestern landowners in Iowa are women. Many of these women are non-operator farm-owners whose spouses have passed away. The Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) has been serving these Midwestern women farmers and farmland owners since their founding as a non-profit project in 1997. The network was created to provide information, networking and leadership development opportunities to women working in sustainable agriculture and food systems development.

Thirty Years of Trailblazing a Farm Community at Temple-Wilton Community Farm

Oct, 25 2018 • Agrarian Commons, Commons Alliance, Food Systems and Security, Land Access Stories, Land Access Strategies, Sustainable Farming • By Eliza Spellman Taylor
The story of Temple-Wilton Community Farm is one of community and commitment, persistence, and vision. As a community-based farm, Temple-Wilton provides support for its farmers and food security for its members. The farm exemplifies how Agrarian Trust might protect a working farm in perpetuity as a kind of ‘agrarian commons’ while upholding the values of access, affordability, and land security.

Land Access Strategy: The Community Land Trust and Indian Line Farm

Oct, 01 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
In a uniquely collaborative arrangement developed by the Schumacher Center for a New Economics, the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, the Berkshire Highlands Program of The Nature Conservancy, and farmers Elizabeth Keen and Alex Thorp joined together to purchase Indian Line Farm in southwestern Massachusetts. The aims of the partnership are to preserve the first CSA farm project in North America, to maintain it as a working organic farm, to protect the adjacent sensitive wetlands, and to provide small-scale farmers access to affordable farmland.

Land Access Strategy: Student-Driven Farms | Book & Plow Farm and Amherst College

Sep, 20 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
Book & Plow Farm is the result of a student-driven initiative to get local food into Valentine Dining Hall at Amherst College, a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts. The farm functions as a private, for-profit business farming on college-owned farmland. The farm has a contract with the college to supply vegetables for campus dining commons as well as to be an educational resource for the school. Book & Plow was selected through a proposal process. The college offers the farmland as well as some financial support for infrastructure.

Building Power: Advancing a People’s Agenda for Food Sovereignty & Climate Justice

Sep, 20 2018 • Food Systems and Security, Land Justice and Equity • By Jamie Pottern
What does an equitable food system look like in world that values corporate profits over people, health, and the environment? What would a grassroots movement of people look like—a movement large enough to fight those interests and win? What does it look like for a national food movement to “build power”? These are just some of the larger questions that arose at the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA)’s Northeast Regional Assembly...

Land Access Strategy: Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch Community Farm, UK

Sep, 12 2018 • Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
The Tablehurst and Plaw Hatch Community Farm initiative was born in 1994 when it appeared that biodynamic Tablehurst Farm might be lost after more than 25 years of careful husbandry by Emerson College. The college could no longer support the farm and, following a major community fund-raising drive, agreed to sell the farm assets to the community while retaining ownership of the land.

Land Access & Racial Equity: Creating an Agrarian Commons

Aug, 07 2018 • Agrarian Commons, Commons Alliance, Land Access Strategies, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
How do we cooperatively own and steward land for food sovereignty, soil and ecosystem health, community benefit, service to the watershed, and more? Agrarian Trust’s proposed method is a new form (legal, cultural, and financial) of land ownership to support land access for the next generation of farmers, and we make the path by walking it. 

Growing Our Team: Welcoming Our New Director & Staff

Mar, 29 2018 • Agrarian Trust • By Agrarian Trust
We’re excited to share some great news with you on our hiring efforts to grow our organization and further our mission in 2018! -- We were delighted to welcome Elizabeth Spellman and Jamie Pottern to our team this month, and we're happy to announce that Ian McSweeney will be joining the staff as our new Organizational Director.

Ford Foundation President: To address the climate crisis, we must address inequality

Jan, 18 2018 • Food Systems and Security, Land Access Strategies • By Agrarian Trust
Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, recently published a profound statement about the importance of addressing inequality to fight climate change. Offering insight into these intertwined issues, which have become the defining challenges of our time, he focuses on the fundamental role of land.

Let’s Skip the War Part—and Go Right to Reparations

Jan, 02 2018 • Food Systems and Security, Land Justice and Equity • By Agrarian Trust
Because ecological destruction affects both friend and foe, the use of bombs, drones and missiles is akin to shooting oneself in the foot…and the lungs and the spirit. War undermines that which most of the world’s people aspire to: physical and financial security; satisfying work and social ties; clean air, food and water. Perhaps we can skip the violence and tragedy and blowback and move directly to restitution: reparations for damage sustained.

Save Rural America

Jul, 14 2017 • Food Systems and Security • By Agrarian Trust
In June, The Center for Rural Affairs were among 578 organizations, businesses, and local governments that signed a letter opposing the elimination of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development […]