Access to land is one of the most pressing challenges facing New England’s beginning farmers. The Land Access Project was a multi-year initiative that built a network to address land access issues from multiple angles.
Equity Trust was one of over 30 collaborating organizations in LAP1 (2010-2013), and one of over 40 collaborating organizations in LAP2 (2015–2018), brought together to strengthen land access services, programs and policies throughout New England. The project took a comprehensive, systems approach to improve programs and policies around land access and transfer in each New England state. Project teams and partners worked with beginning farmers, established and transitioning farmers, landowners, conservation organizations, service providers, communities and policymakers.
Convened and coordinated by Land for Good, the Land Access Project provided direct support and education to farm seekers, improved the conditions for accessing land, and explored and promoted innovation in how farms and farmland are made available, affordable, and secure for new farmers.
Project collaborators worked on task forces including:
- Listing & Linking
- Farm Transfer
- Non-farming Landowners
- Tenure Innovations
LAP2 collaborators created a series of guides, tools, and reports for beginning and established farmers, next generation farmers, and public and private landowners, as well as educators and advisors. As part of the “Tenure Innovations Task Force,” a subcommittee looked at urban land access for commercial farming. Johanna Rosen of Equity Trust and Kathy Ruhf of Land for Good co-authored Farmland Access in Urban Settings Guide, which offers practical suggestions, examples, and innovative models to help new farmers launch and sustain viable urban farms.
Another product of the Project was New England Farmland Finder, a web-based, regional farm property clearinghouse created to help New England’s farm seekers and farm property holders find each other. It makes it easy for farm properties to be posted, and for farm seekers to search through them. It is free, simple, region-wide, automated and constantly current, serving as a friendly portal for property holders and farmland seekers.
The Land Access Project was supported by funds from the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (NIFA #2010-03067, #2015-70017-23900).