We take a systems approach to tackling farmland access, tenure and transfer challenges, which requires a comprehensive approach that seeks creative solutions at multiple levels. We provide direct assistance to individuals and communities, while building the capacity of farm service providers and strengthening public policies. We know we can’t do our work alone so we involve everyone— farmers, families, landowners, community leaders, agencies, service providers, advocacy groups and local citizens.
Read more about our systems view in Access to farmland: A systems change perspective. (2013) in the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.
Providing caring and practical help to individual farmers and farm families is critical, but not sufficient by itself. We work toward changes in the social, economic and political ‘systems’ that will improve how farmers access, hold and transfer farmland. Removing current barriers to land access and improving farmers’ security of tenure with new methods is key to this ‘systems change.’
We go beyond traditional methods of farm access and transfer. We research, develop and implement innovative, alternative approaches to getting farmers onto the land. For example, our Farm Legacy Program strives for more successful and timely farm transfers to keep farms in farming by empowering farmers and their families to take on farm transfer planning. We also practice and promote a team approach in our education, training and advising with service providers and farmers. It creates farming opportunity and strengthens farmland stewardship while honoring the legacies of farms, and their working farms and farmland.
New England and beyond
New England is our target area of impact and our learning laboratory. Our Field Agents are on the ground across the six-state region, working with individuals and communities, building partnerships, and strengthening services. We also reach beyond New England to lead and work on projects of national scope and significance. We are leaders in a broad network of groups that are tackling farmland access, transfer and tenure issues across the country.