Land is the foundation of the food system – without it, there’s no food. We are working to conserve farmland and ensure that the next generation is able to find and afford land.
This group of land trusts, farmers, and active community members have been working to address issues of land conservation, land access for farmers, and best stewardship practices on farmland. Members of this group have been providing resources to communities about estate planning and farm succession, land conservation, and regenerative agriculture.
Over the last few years, this group has conducted farmland inventories of surrounding towns in collaboration with Town Open Space Committees, Conservation Commissions, and Agriculture Commissions, and have offered numerous estate planning workshops for landowners and municipalities interested about learning about options for the future of their land. These informational events have helped to increase information-sharing in our communities and promote proactive efforts to preserve our agricultural resources, increase access to farmland, and improve access to healthy, local food.
John Moore from Orange shares his story about why he decided to conserve his 9th-generation family farm at an estate planning workshop held at Johnson’s Farm Restaurant in 2015.
- Protect farmland that is threatened by development and/or important to the community first.
- Build regional capacity for farmland conservation by assisting towns in exercising their right of first refusal on Chapter 61 lands and supporting the adoption of Community Preservation Act and other conservation funding programs.
- Educate landowners about conservation options, succession planning, and farming options – how to negotiate a lease, find farmers, etc. Offer peer-to-peer workshops when possible.
- Host workshops for landowners to explore stewardship options and methods of regenerative agriculture.
- Connect farm owners and farm seekers to increase access to productive farmland.
- Engage with non-agricultural institutional landowners, such as schools, camps, and others to maintain farmland in active farming.