Our Good Work, Summer 2018
Every summer has a story.
This summer's bumper crop includes welcoming new staff and deepening collaborations. These collaborative projects, along with their research, are yielding more resources, events, tools and strategies for helping new and expanding farmers access land, and transitioning farmers transfer a farm. 

Read about the good work that you and other generous supporters make possible :
Our food security depends on the land security of hardworking farmers. And there's a lot at stake for farmers and rural communities right now in New England and nationally.  Show your support at landforgood.org/donate .

With gratitude,  

Jim Habana Hafner
Executive Director
farm-billFarm Bill heads to Congressional Conference Committee, with a Sept. 30th deadline

Farm Bill conference is finally underway, with the S enate taking the final step of naming its conferees on August 1. New England is fortunate to have two members of the conference committee: Sen. Patrick Leahy from Vermont, and Rep. Jim McGovern from Massachusetts. Both have been invaluable advocates for issues important to New England farmers and consumers, including issues on which Land For Good has engaged this year. 

We will encourage them and other conferees to fight for these priorities in any final bill, including increased funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program; increased funding for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and explicit authority within ACEP-ALE for Buy-Protect-Sell projects; increased loan limits for FSA Direct Farm Ownership loans; retention of the Regional Equity provision in the conservation title; and inclusion of several research and data initiatives around farm transfer, land access, and heirs property rights.  

shemariahWelcome Shemariah! 

Welcome Shemariah Blum-Evitts, farmer and project manager, as our new Program Director.
Shemariah Blum-Evitts recently joined us as Program Director.  She will direct all of our education, consulting and research, and collaborate with our many partners to deliver programs and assistance to farmers, landowners and service providers to advance access to land, farm transfer and secure land tenure across New England - and beyond. Shema  is a farmer and regional planner and project manager  who founded New Lands Farm, a program within Ascentria Care Alliance that offered training and land access to New American farmers in Central and Western Massachusetts. She and her husband operate their small-scale, kosher, pastured poultry operation on their home farm in South Deerfield MA .  

" Land For Good has been a resource for me - both as a beginning farmer and a service provider," shares Shemariah. "It was through working with LFG that we were confident in our lease arrangements for New Lands Farm and fully understood our options. I am delighted to be part of the organization and extend expertise and support to more farmers."

faithlandsMovement to turn church land into farmland

Nurya Love Parrish, co-founder of Plainsong Farm & Ministry with Kathy Ruhf, LFG's Senior Advisor.
Faithlands for sustainable agriculture. This spring we participated in a remarkable gathering of about 30 faith leaders and sustainable agriculture advocates at Paicines Ranch in California. Faithlands was convened by the Greenhorns and Agrarian Trust to explore the potential for lands held by faith communities to be made available for farming. After the three days together, many participants felt that something deeper and more far-reaching had occurred.

Leaders from various faith communities and US regions brought a common ethic of land stewardship, and shared their unique ways of caring for the land, farmers, and their communities. Some of the participants are actively engaged in farm projects, and all the faith community representatives use food and agriculture to communicate about fundamental religious themes and pressing contemporary issues.

The conversation ranged from spiritual contemplation of earth stewardship and social justice to the practicalities of inventorying church-owned land and creating good lease agreements. Together, the group explored the urgent land access needs of young farmers, how to engage church leaders and members in making land available for farming, and the challenges of navigating church institutions.

LAPCollaborators affirm LAP2 benefits for the region's farm seekers, transitioning farmers & landowners

Special thanks to the farmers who shared their land tenure and transfer stories, and gave project feedback. Janet Woodward and Tim Wheeler, Indian Head Farm, MA; Stacy Brenner, Broadturn Farm, ME; Ryan Voiland, Red Fire Farm, MA.
The final convening for LFG's  Land Access Project (LAP2) affirmed how collaborators across New England have improved assistance to farmers - land seekers and transitioning farmers - as well as farmland owners and service providers. Over 40 groups produced resources, built skills, and enhanced networks during the three-year project which comes to a close at the end of August.

At the project's final convening in May, LAP task forces presented their accomplishments around farm access and transfer concepts, tools and regional resources. A farmer panel reminded us how land access and succession conditions can change, and how essential team-based assistance and innovation are to solving these challenges. Among the noteworthy project achievements are an improved New England Farmland Finder website, a comprehensive Farm Access Guide, training for succession advisors, an online Build-A-Lease tool, and a national conference.

Funded by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, LAP is one of several dozen beginning farmer initiatives across the country; only a couple are focused on land access, tenure and transfer. This work lifts up LFG's, and our region's, leadership on these issues nationally.

All LAP activities, from direct service to networking and over 50 educational events, are thanks to the steadfast participation of our many collaborators and LFG staff. 

Reflecting on our progress, contributions and shared goodwill, one participant commented:  "It's been really great to meet and network with others in New England that are working on land access." 

"So grateful for LFG's innovation, dedication and leadership!" offered another.

More details about final LAP2 project outputs will be shared soon. 

conferenceShare your experiences at Farmland Access Conference - RFPs due August 20th

Save the date! A farmland access conference is coming to Augusta ME on December 3rd.
It's the largest conference in the region focused solely on land access, and we invite submissions from across New England! 

Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good are excited to co-host the 4th annual Farmland Access Conference on December 3rd in Augusta, Maine. Save the date! 

Last year's conference drew 130 farmers, policymakers, service providers and advocates. The issues, strategies and skills shared at this conference have relevance far beyond Maine.

Your successes, program models, or case studies from across New England are of great interest!  Use this  Request for Proposals  (RFP) to submit  sessions to the conference  committee. 

Proposals will be accepted through Monday, August 20th.

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