Agrarian Trust is creating multiple local Agrarian Commons, 501(c)(2) organizations, across the nation to own land for local sustainable agriculture, agrarian community enterprises, and deep ecological stewardship. These local agrarian commons will own the farms, land, and other agrarian real estate and property to provide long-term equity through lease agreements with farmers and community organizations with a focus on bringing about land justice by providing access and equity to communities excluded from land. This collaborative structure of single national 501(c)(3) Agrarian Trust, multiple local 501(c)(2) Agrarian Commons, and many lessee farmers and community organizations will create a shared ecological stewardship framework and structures to relocalize land based equity and agrarian community self-determination.
Agrarian Trust’s Mission and Principles guide, align, and support the local Agrarian Commons, with documents and agreements being part of the framework. The Agrarian Commons Creation Committee, along with organizational partners, founding farmers, and local Agrarian Commons, are currently co-creating documents and agreements. The committee will be charged with taking Agrarian Trust and the Sustainable Economies Law Center’s draft documents, outlined points, and collected thoughts and finalizing them into documents that cover the topic areas noted below.
- Farmer equity and tenure security through equitable lease/ground lease
- Agrarian Trust structure and bylaws
- Land equity to the earth, lessee farmers, and other lessee organizations, the commons, and broader community
- Cultural easement
- Relationship between Agrarian Trust (c)(3) and a local (c)(2) commons; options to “take back” and other restrictions to prohibit market based sale of land by c2 or c3; options to ensure active farming and stewardship
- Farm standards, forest standards, and ecological stewardship standards and agreements
- Throughout the process, we will consider and catalog potential policy work that can benefit commons possibilities across the U.S.
This committee has brought together national leaders, innovators, stakeholders, and aligned organizations to ensure broad and diverse perspectives and wisdom is brought to bear.
Agrarian Commons Creation Committee:
- Agrarian Trust Team
- Rachel Armstrong, Farm Commons
- 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 (https://www.dodsonparker.com/), TN
- Sara Dewey, Conservation Law Foundation (clf.org), MA
- Jonah Fertig-Burd, Cooperative Development Institute (cdi.coop), ME
- Rebecca Fletcher, Equity Trust (equitytrust.org), MA
- Mike Ghia, Land for Good (landforgood.org), VT
- Jennifer Hashley, New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (nesfp.org), MA
- Emma Hempstead, FairShake Environmental Legal Services (https://www.fairshake-els.org/), PA
- Dorothy Hinkle-Uhlig, Yggdrasil Land Foundation , (https://www.yggdrasillandfoundation.org/) AL
- Jillian Hishaw, FARMS (https://www.30000acres.org/) NC
- Kendra Johnson, CA FarmLink, and CA Agrarian Commons Advancement (https://www.californiafarmlink.org/ CA
- Keefe Keeley, Savanna Institute (http://www.savannainstitute.org/), WI
- Kristin King-Ries, Trust Montana (https://trustmontana.org/), MT
- Sophia Kruszewski, Vermont Law School Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (https://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/centers-and-programs/center-for-agriculture-and-food-systems), VT
- Konrad Liegel, private practice, and WA Agrarian Commons attorney ,(https://www.landcan.org/local-resources/Konrad-J-Liegel/9573/), WA
- Amy Manzelli, BCM Environmental Land Law, and NH Agrarian Commons attorney (https://nhlandlaw.com/), 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 (https://www.northeastfarmersofcolor.com/), Ontario, Oneida
- Jim Oldham, Equity Trust (equitytrust.org), MA
- Holly-Rippon Butler, National Young Farmers Coalition (https://www.youngfarmers.org/), NY
- Laurie Ristino, George Washington University Law School, Strategies for a Sustainable Future (https://www.strategiesforasustainablefuture.net/bio), NH
- Connor Stedman, AppleSeed Permaculture (http://www.appleseedpermaculture.com/), MA
- Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center (https://www.theselc.org/), CA
- Neil Thapar, Sustainable Economies Law Center (https://www.theselc.org/), CA
- Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, Quivira Coalition (https://quiviracoalition.org/), NM
- Çaca Yvaire, The Northeast Farmers of Color network (https://www.northeastfarmersofcolor.com/), RI
Local Agrarian Commons
Local Agrarian Commons will be structured and guided by the local identity of the communities served. To enable local identity and self-determination, each local Agrarian Commons will be developed by the communities and farms served, and each local Agrarian Commons will be guided by the work of this committee. Agrarian Trust will work with exiting and entering farmers of initial farms acquired into local Agrarian Commons in the same way concurrently, bringing together founding farmers to review and co-create and facilitate communications and feedback that informs and is informed by committee.
The committee will practice respectful communications; will value each individual’s knowledge, experience, and input; and will operate with a collaborative learning framework that will provide open source access, transparency, and use of documents we co-create.
This process will be facilitated by Agrarian Legal Support. The open source publication of our work, further discussion, and more learning are soon to come.