Access to Farmland: A Systems Change Perspective by Kathryn Z. Ruhf
While the topic of farmers’ access to farmland is not a new issue, contemporary conditions have made it an even greater challenge than in the past. In this reflective essay I suggest that the farmland access challenge in the U.S. means thinking outside the box of ingrained cultural values, past historical arrangements, and current conditions. Using my organization, Land For Good, I argue that persistent challenges to farmland access will be addressed best through dialogue and innovation around how farms and farmland can optimally be accessed, held, and passed on. Land For Good, a New England–based not-for-profit organization, posits a systems change framework for farmland access, tenure, and transfer. This essay explores solutions in a broad context and addresses how farm seekers, landowners, service providers, communities, and policymakers all play key roles.
* Kathryn Z. Ruhf, Executive Director, Land For Good, Inc.; P.O. Box 625; Keene, New Hampshire 03431 USA; +1-603-357-1600; firstname.lastname@example.org