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.
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…
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.
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?
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.
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…
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.
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…
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.
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
With snowshoes, I’ve been able to explore every aspect of my new property in Wolcott, Vermont. The cold temperatures and glistening snow drifts feel like a different planet from my first visit here in the early days of June. Buying this piece of land was the culmination of a ten year long dream my husband and I shared as we raised crops and livestock in the Southeastern United States. To think that all of those vegetables, markets, evenings shared in the Appalachian hills, and lists made would lead to such a beautiful place seems like the wrong answer to an improbable equation.
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.