Agrarian Commons Creation Committee

Agrarian Commons Creation Committee

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 99-year lease agreements to farmers and community organizations with a focus on bringing about land justice by providing access and equity to communities excluded from land.  This collabortaive structure of single national 501(c)(2) 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 Mission and Principals will manifest through the creation of local Agrarian Commons and each 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 a series of documents and agreements created by Agrarian Trust.

To create these documents and agreements Agrarian Trust will convene an Agrarian Commons Creation Committee to bring together national leaders, innovators, and stakeholders to ensure broad and diverse perspectives and wisdom is brought to bear.  The committee will be charged with taking Agrarian Trust and Sustainable Economies Law Center draft documents, outlined points, and collected thoughts and finalizing them into documents that cover the topic areas noted below:

  • Farm standards 
  • Forest standards
  • Farmer equity and tenure security – lease/ground-lease
  • Cultural Easement
  • Ecological stewardship standards and agreement
  • Agrarian Commons structure, bylaws, and opportunities
  • Relationship between Agrarian Trust (c)(3) and  local Agrarian Commons (c)(2) 
  • Land equity to the earth, lessee farmers and other lessee organizations, the commons, and the broader community
  • Agrarian Trust options to “take back”, and broad restrictions on prohibiting market-based sale of land by Agrarian Commons and/or Agrarian Trust
  • Agrarian Commons 501(c)(2) Board responsibilities

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 by anyone.  This process will be facilitated by Agrarian Legal Support.

Agrarian Trust will also work with exiting and entering farmers of initial farms acquired into Farm Commons in the same way, bringing together a Farm Commons Founding Farmers Committee to review and co-create.

Timeframe: January – July 2019

Commitments: those involved can elect Full Active role or less involved Review and Input role.  

Participation, Full Active Role:

  • Monthly call (1.5 – 2 hours) and follow up research and document drafting (1- 5 hours)
  • Review and input on documents (1 – 10 hours for each document)

Participation, Review and Input Role:

  • Monthly call (1.5-2 hours)
  • Review and input on documents (1-5 hours for each document)

Members already include 25+ attorneys representing farm communities and organizations such as Cooperative Development Institute, Soul Fire Farm, Sustainable Economies Law Center, The Working World, US Food Sovereignty Alliance, Equity Trust, Conservation Law Foundation, F.A.R.M.S., and Land for Good.