During these times of great uncertainty and hardship, I continue to be inspired by the dedication of our farmers and the communities who support them. Amid the fragility and inequities of our food system, farmers are persisting to shift markets, meet new demand and access support - and do whatever it takes to sustain their businesses and feed their communities. 

At LFG, we're also doing whatever it takes to serve our farmers and advocate at every level on their behalf. We all want a healthier post-COVID food system. We want a just and equitable food system that serves the most vulnerable. We want local food security. Secure access to land for farmers who grow our food and steward our land is as critical as ever.

As we consider the future impacts of this pandemic on farmland access and farming opportunity, we will continue to work in solidarity with partners, advocates, and farm supporters to stand with our farmers. Many on our staff are themselves farmers, and I want to thank one of them as she departs: Tess Brown-Lavoie, our Rhode Island Field Agent is leaving the region to pursue her writing career. As a farmer and community leader, Tess did dynamic and fertile work in Rhode Island (and beyond) in service of a more just and sustainable agriculture. Reflecting on the relationships she's built these past years, Tess shared:
I have been inspired by the creativity of Rhode Island farms and those who support them. Thank you for working with me to make sense of and take action on so many complex issues and for everything you do for this land and for farmers." 

We are excited about the next chapter of our work in Rhode Island. This staff transition creates a great job opportunity! Are you interested in working for an organization that makes a real difference for farmers and food systems? Read more in this issue, including farmer relief efforts, racial equity in the food system, building community resilience through local food & working lands, and more.

Contact us for assistance, find us during our virtual office hours, and stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We continue to pull together and prepare for brighter days ahead.

With gratitude,

Jim Hafner
Executive Director
Connect with us during Virtual Office Hours

Find us in our new virtual meeting space. We'll be offering free assistance for farmers and landowners and Q&A at Wednesday lunchtime sessions (most weeks) from Noon - 1pm EST. Are you interested in buying or leasing farmland, have questions, feel stuck in the process, or want to meet up with other farmers? Or do you own land? Farmers across New England are looking for land to farm. Check out these sessions. Advance registration is required for the Zoom link and password.

  • August 26: Make Your Land Available for Farming
  • September 16: How to Conduct a Land Search
  • September 23: Make Your Land Available for Farming
  • September 30: How to Conduct a Land Search
  • October 14: Make Your Land Available for Farming
  • October 21: How to Conduct a Land Search

Join our team!

Are you interested in working for an organization that makes a real difference for farmers and food systems? We are currently seeking a Rhode Island Field Agent to join our stellar team. This is a unique opportunity to work on critical issues of accessing and passing on farms and farmland. Our staff educate and consult with farm seekers, transitioning farmers and landowners, while partnering with other state and regional groups on education, community outreach, advocacy and special projects.

CFAP Aid application deadline extended

Farmers have shown their ingenuity yet again in adapting to pandemic-related food system disruptions. But additional funding is needed to help local and regional food systems respond on a wider scale. Due to recent additions to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) eligible commodities, USDA is now accepting applications from producers for aid through September 11 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Outside of dairy, federal assistance to our region's farmers has been modest. But additions to the specialty crop list, price changes for some previously-included commodities, and the removal of some commodities, mean farmers may want to take another look at USDA's CFAP page.
Racial Equity in the Food System

We continue to listen, learn and build relationships with Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) farmers and leaders in food and agriculture. If you want to also continue your learning:

We are proud to be part of the collaboration that designed and launched Farm Aid's Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund, including participating on an application review team. The current funding pool of $100,000 will provide 200 grants to BIPOC farmers.

For more, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Somali Bantu community finds dream farm through Agrarian Commons

The long-standing dream for a secure farm home may soon become a reality for the Somali Bantu of Maine. The founding of Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons offers access to land for sustainable agriculture and cultural identity for Somali immigrant farmers. This fundraising effort will put a 107 acre property into an Agrarian Trust Commons and grant the Somali Bantu Community Association a 99-year rolling lease. This long-term tenure agreement allows the community to transfer their prized agricultural skills, knowledge and traditions to future generations.

Little Jubba Central Maine is connected to a rich collaboration among multiple organizations, including the Somali Bantu Community Association of Maine (SBCA), Agrarian TrustCooperative Development InstituteLand For GoodLand in CommonMaine Farmland Trust, and American Farmland Trust. Agrarian Trust and the Little Jubba Central Maine Agrarian Commons continue fundraising to make this farmland purchase possible by December 1, 2020.

Read more about this partnership on our Blog
Special Report: Farms Under Threat

In the last 15 years over 11 million acres of this nation’s irreplaceable agricultural land has been paved-over, fragmented, or otherwise converted to new uses that jeopardize farming. Since 1982, the US has lost 25 million acres of agricultural land to development, with development pressures and land values limiting the ability of farmers, especially beginning farmers, to access farmland. Left unabated, these trends threaten food security, local economies, ecological integrity, climate resiliency, and the very fabric of our communities.

Farms Under Threat is American Farmland Trust’s multi-year initiative to document the status of and threats to US farmland and ranchland, and to identify policy solutions to ensure the protection and conservation of America’s diverse agricultural landscape. New data shows a renewed uptick in development - especially low density residential development - that has resulted in 19 acres per day or 7,000 acres per year of New England agricultural land being being converted from farming or threatened between 2001 and 2016.

The inability of the older generation to exit farming, and of the next generation to enter farming, constitutes one of the greatest challenges for farming that we face as a country and in New England. The average age of New England's farmers is increasing rapidly, and farmers and their families need support transitioning their farms to a new generation. Though their numbers are increasing, young, beginning, and non-white farmers struggle to afford farms. The racial demographics of New England farmers are also changing, and we must help ensure that all farmers have equitable access to farming opportunity and the resources they need to address the obstacles ahead.

Learn more in this special report Farms Under Threat, A New England Perspective
Build community resilience & make connections at 3 NH Farmer-Landowner Mixers

This fall we're hosting virtual mixers with our NH partner Vital Communities to build resilience through local food and working lands. NH farmers, landowners, and community members are invited to join us for Kearsage, Lebanon, or Claremont NH region mixers in October. Come learn the fundamentals of how to access farmland, plus discuss farming practices, hear farmer success stories, and make great connections!

Watch for registration to open soon at landforgood.org/events
Follow us on Instagram

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.