Our Good Work, Fall 2020

Our fall and winter gatherings may look different this year, but the spirit of the season still brings us together. It continues to be a critical time for all of us – especially for our farmers who continue to feed us. COVID-19 has clearly brought into view growing food insecurity and the inequities in our food system.

Our food security depends on the land security of our farmers, yet thousands of farmers struggled to keep their businesses running this growing season. USDA released its next round of funding, Coronavirus Food Assistance Program–2, with improvements that will hopefully reach more farmers who were left out of previous aid programs. Many types of farmer assistance remain available - read more in this issue! This year we directly served 155 farmers and farmland owners across New England, and our team fielded over 200 inquiries from struggling farmers, exiting farmers, and new aspiring farmers interested in a career change. Their stories are inspiring:

"We inherited our parents' house and land.
They wanted it to remain as farmland. With your help we found
the perfect couple to buy the property. They have created a successful
vegetable farm to nourish the community." - Landowner

And there's more work to do! Election Day is behind us, but the policy changes over the last four years and the ripple effect of this election cycle will have long-term impacts on the food system – from the farm economy to food access. We need your support more than ever.

Make a donation to help keep farming alive and growing in our region. Take advantage of Giving Tuesday, December 1, a global movement highlighting the the generosity of the human spirit that brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together across the globe. Join us on Giving Tuesday, or give today at landforgood.org/donate. Check out the exciting opportunity below to have your generosity matched by a fellow donor - and double your impact.

Thank you for supporting working farms and our local food systems.

Best wishes for the season,

Jim Hafner
Executive Director
Gift Match will Double Your Impact

Give today and take advantage of an exciting opportunity to have your generosity matched by a fellow donor. All donations up to $2500 will be matched dollar for dollar, allowing you to do twice the good with your donation. And 100% of your gift will fund direct services to farmers and farmland owners through our Opportunity Fund.

Act quickly, this matching opportunity is only available until November 27. This is a great time to make your first donation to support our work!

Go to landforgood.org/donate to show your support. This match opportunity requires no paperwork or additional action. Your donation will automatically be doubled by our generous donor. Give today!
Nearly 800 Farmers & Professionals Trained this Year even amid COVID-19

This fall we wrapped up the second year of our Land Access Project, Phase 3 (LAP3), with nearly 800 beginning farmers, transitioning farmers, landowners, and service providers that participated in over 38 workshops, trainings, and virtual gatherings we conducted around New England. The project is funded by USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (#2018-70017-28531).

We thank our state partners for their collaboration, commitment, and work across the region: 

Read more impacts of this regional Land Access Project (LAP3).
CFAP-2 to reach more farmers who were left out of previous aid program

Thousands of farmers struggled to keep their businesses running this growing season, including many who faced new expenses to keep up with demand. While many New England states offered help for farmers, Federal farm relief programs proved unworkable for most small-scale, diverse, and value-added producers. But additional aid is available.

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program CFAP-2 will provide $13.21 billion in aid to farmers over the upcoming months to partially compensate for losses incurred between April 1, 2020-August 31, 2020 where prices, markets, and supply chains have been impacted by the pandemic. USDA's second round of COVID-19 relief payments will hopefully reach more farmers who were left out of previous aid programs. The deadline to apply is December 11, 2020.

CFAP-2 retains most of the elements of CFAP-1 (closed on September 11) and includes significant improvements that are certain to benefit many farmers who weren’t eligible for or compensated fairly by the original program. Eligible commodities for CFAP-2 include row crops, wool, livestock, specialty livestock, dairy, specialty crops, floricutlure and nursery crops, aquaculture, broilers and eggs, and tobacco.

Find details, including multiple ways to apply, at USDA's CFAP page or contact your local FSA office

Other resources are outlined on our Blog.
Farm Succession Training for Professionals Who Serve Farmers

Successful farm transfers require a supportive and expert team of service providers. A new professional development project is aimed to strengthen the knowledge, skills and collaboration of a diverse group of service providers who work with—or want to work with—transitioning farm families in various ways across New England.

With a grant from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), we will host unique training opportunities for professionals to improve teamwork and capacity to do farm succession planning. Trainings in each New England state will be held in January 2021 for extension staff, conservation groups, mediators, farm link programs, land trusts, and non-profit agriculture service providers who play succession advising and support roles in their state. Professionals will have additional opportunities to meet virtually over the coming months. Finally, we'll bring together attorneys and financial advisors for an intensive 2-day seminar in May 2021 focused on the more technical, legal, and financial components of succession plans.

Learn more about this unique training opportunity.
Do You Know a Landowner Looking for a Farmer? or a Farmer Looking for Land?

You can help spread the word. New England Farmland Finder (NEFF) is the region's #1 farm linking website with over 200 properties currently listed. Browse available properties across New England today! 

"We are about to enter our first trial year with successors found on NEFF. Looking forward to a long and positive relationship with the young farmers who will take over our farm." - Retiring farmers

Do you know a landowner looking to find the right farmer for their property? NEFF connects owners of available farm properties to farm seekers. Landowners can post properties at no charge to reach over 1,400 current subscribed farm seekers. You could find the right match! Learn how to create an effective property posting that gets more views by farmers.

Special Thanks for a Successful Conference

Last week's virtual Farmland Access & Transfer Conference co-hosted by Maine Farmland Trust and Land For Good brought together over 150 attendees from across New England and the US. It's success was largely due to the involvement and contributions of many organizations and farmers who shared their insights and expertise. We encourage you to learn more about the presenters -some are spotlighted in the next article!

Miss the conference? To access session recordings, go to the conference page.

Thanks to our sponsors who made the conference possible!

Funding for this event was provided by The Land Access Project, Phase 3 which is supported by a grant from the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (NIFA # 2018-70017-28531).
Focus on Food Sovereignty

Many community-based efforts have been working for decades to increase local food security, right past wrongs, and bring lasting change. We continue to lift up these and other diverse voices and perspectives on farmland access through a land justice lens.

  • Congratulations to the 2020 awardee of the annual Food Sovereignty Prize, the Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine. Organized by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance, the Food Sovereignty Prize highlights grassroots efforts meeting urgent needs while advancing transformative solutions.
  • See the good work of Eastern Woodlands Rematriation, a collective of Indigenous people restoring the spiritual foundation of our livelihoods through regenerative food systems. Alivia Moore of Eastern Woodlands Rematriation organized an informative and eye-opening plenary session for us at last week's Farmland Access & Transfer Conference.
  • Show support for New Roots Cooperative Farm who broke ground on land in Lewiston Maine in 2016. They are now seeking to purchase the 30-acre parcel they have been farming and developing since, as well as purchase necessary equipment and improve their infrastructure.
  • The Black Farmers Legal Fund, introduced last month by A Growing Culture and Milgrom & Daskam, was created to provide pro bono legal services to majority Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned agricultural entities that are financially unable to pay for legal representation.
  • Read the article, Building Trust, Healing Trauma, and Restoring Health, co-authored by Janie Simms Hipp, CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund. Janie was also a speaker at our Changing Lands, Changing Hands national conference on farmland access and tenure (2017).

For more, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - or check out our social media digests on our Blog.
Brighter Future Microgrant Program

American Farmland Trust is accepting applications for the Brighter Future Microgrant Program. This program will assist farmers in successfully launching, growing and sustaining farms in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather and climate change and other forces impacting the food and agricultural system. Grants are intended to leverage other resources and make a real difference for farmers to access land, improve farm viability and land security, facilitate farm transfers and increase resilience to climate change.

Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $5,000 per project. A project may involve an individual farmer OR a farm family. The program will have a special allocation of funds for farmers from underserved and underrepresented communities including Black, persons of color, indigenous, LGBTQIA+, female, and beginning farmers.

Grants can be used for farm equipment, infrastructure, and/or professional services to help participating farmers achieve program goals.

Check out the list of eligible counties by state.

Apply today in English or Spanish. (Photo credit: American Farmland Trust)
A Model for Community-Centered Land Ownership in Vermont

Bread & Butter Farm announced its role as the founding farm of Vermont Agrarian Commons, in partnership with national non-profit Agrarian Trust. Vermont now joins ten states across the country in launching an Agrarian Commons.

Our Vermont Field Agent, Mike Ghia, was part of the Agrarian Commons Creation Committee that advised on the structure and implementation of the Agrarian Commons concept as a model for community-centered land ownership and long-term tenure for farmers. This model aims to address land access and tenure challenges facing next-generation farmers by holding land in a community centered trust and providing an affordable, 99-year and equity-building leasehold interest to farmers.

Read more about this Vermont cooperative model, and the founding of Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons announced earlier this year.
Follow us on Instagram

Did you hear? We finally made it to Instagram! In this new space we’ll be sharing education and training opportunities, stories of farm seekers who have affordably and securely accessed farmland, retiring farmers who have passed their land on to the next generation of stewards, and landowners who have succeeded in making their land available for farming. We’ll also be sure to share ways that you can get involved in gaining ground for all farmers.

Connect with us on Instagram @land4good. Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Don't have time to keep up with your feeds, check out our social media digest on our Blog to see what you're missing!