This is the story of the revival of two dairy farms as a result of regenerative farming practices, savvy marketing, and an openness to sharing land and cows. It’s written from a series of conversations at a farmer’s market in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Investing in small-scale agriculture is not always seen as a secure investment. Sharing the risk by using a split mortgage helped Blue Ox Organics farmers Lauren and Caleb Langworthy buy their land.
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.