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Farmland Access & Transfer Conference goes virtual, Nov. 16-18

Confronting the challenges of farmland access, next-generation farmers, and the injustices that have shaped access to land and our food system
Nov 02, 2020

Belfast — The sixth annual Farmland Access & Transfer Conference will go online Nov. 16-18, expanding availability and enabling more participants to learn and share ideas about the pivotal role of farmers and farmland in shaping the future of our regional food system.

As the largest conference in New England that focuses solely on the issues of farmland access, tenure and transfer, this has become a critical convening for participants across the region, according to a press release.

Co-hosted by Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good, the conference has drawn over 130 farmers, aspiring farmers, policymakers, service providers and advocates each year to Augusta. This year the conference will go online because of the pandemic, making it available to more farmers and aspiring farmers far beyond Maine.

According to a press release from Maine Farmland Trust, the issues, strategies and skills shared at this conference have increasing relevance to today’s farmers — both those who are transitioning out of farming and those who are starting new farm enterprises — and their impact on our regional food system.

“A strong local food system depends on active working lands,” said Shemariah Blum-Evitts, program director at Land For Good and co-host of the conference. “As a new generation of farmers seeks access to productive, affordable farmland, many senior farmers worry about how they will transfer their land and need help with succession planning.”

"To acknowledge the history of injustice and violence that has shaped access to land and our food system — and its ongoing legacy, this year’s conference aims to feature a wider range of diverse voices and perspectives on farmland access in our region," the press release said.

"Through this conference and beyond, these organizations are committed to dialogue and awareness-raising about inequities and injustices related to farmland access; to critically examine our roles and biases in perpetuating inequities, and to strive for more just and inclusive paths forward around farmland access and tenure."

The conference will include prerecorded webinars as well as valuable live interactive sessions on affording farmland, how to craft an agricultural lease, conducting a land search, improving communications between farmers and landowners, succession planning, and tools and resources for supporting Black, Indigenous, and farmers of color.

Presenters include field experts on land access and transfer from Land For Good (New England) and Maine Farmland Trust, as well as representatives from Somali Bantu Community Association (Maine), Land In Common (Maine), Indian Head Farm (Massachusetts), Honey Field Farm (Vermont), Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust, and more.

A plenary session on land justice will be led by Alivia Moore of Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective, a collective of Indigenous people restoring the spiritual foundation of their livelihoods through regenerative food systems. "Participants will join the conversation about how farmers can be integral parts of reorienting the framework of land tenure to include reparations and land justice," the press release said.

Conference sponsors include Belfast Coop, Conservation Law Foundation, Cooperative Development Institute, Cultivating Community, Farm Credit East, Food Solutions New England, Katahdin Trust Co., Legal Food Hub, Maine Harvest Credit Union, Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rosemont Market & Bakery, and Wolfe’s Neck Center.

Sliding scale registration is available. For more information or to register, go to mainefarmlandtrust.org/access-2020.

About Maine Farmland Trust

Maine Farmland Trust is the only statewide nonprofit organization working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance the future of farming in Maine. Since its founding in 1999, the trust has helped not just to protect Maine farmland, but to revitalize Maine’s rural landscape by keeping agricultural lands working and helping farmers, and their communities, thrive. Learn more at mainefarmlandtrust.org or connect with MFT on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Land For Good

Land For Good is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure the future of farming in New England by putting more farmers more securely on more land. Founded in 2004, Land For Good is the only organization of its kind nationally, with a sole focus on farmland access, transfer, and tenure. With field agents serving all New England states, LFG educates, consults, innovates and advocates with and for farm seekers, established farmers, farmland owners, and communities. Land For Good partners with state agriculture agencies, beginning farmer training programs, organic farming associations, journeyperson programs, as well as land trusts and conservation groups to improve farmland access and transfer. Learn more at landforgood.org or connect with LFG on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

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