This past weekend I was down in Berkeley at Our Land, a symposium on farmland access in the 21st century. The audience was full of young farmers, experienced agrarians, agricultural nonprofits, food policy, and social justice workers. It was a star studded, speaker line up with Joel Salatin, Wes Jackson, Gary Nabhan, Elizabeth Henderson, Eric Holt-Gimenez and more. They weren’t just there to discuss their farming techniques. They were there to talk about the current state of agricultural land domestically and abroad. And more importantly, to discuss what work needs to be done to provide access to land for future farmers.
This discussion about land is so very important because a farmer, without land can not farm. As a young first generation farmer, I know that finding land is incredibly hard and to find land security is even harder. As farmers we are working within yearly, seasonal cycles. So we have a long term outlook on our business, which is depended on the land we are using to farm. Without long term leases or reasonable options to buy land, our businesses will not have longevity.
So this current movement of local sustainable food and regional craft businesses that is hip and big enough to move international markets, needs to include the question: Who truly has access land?