Organic Land Trusts Nationally

My lunch-time post yesterday mentioned a local non-profit group's ownership of 532 acres of organic farm land in Washington. I failed to mention that they claim to be the only non-profit trust in the United States dedicated to organic farm preservation, and I failed to check this claim.

That group, PCC Farmland Trust, does appear to be the only U.S. land trust dedicated to preserving organic farms (and the largest owner of organic farmland among trusts), but other land trusts use organic easements as part of their operations.

Peconic Land Trust in New York State owns a 25-acre organic farm, sells community-supported agriculture (CSA) boxes, and uses their lands for educational purposes.

Maui Coastal Land Trust focuses on coastal lands on Maui and is preserving 75 acres of land for organic agriculture.

Farmland preservation (not just organics) is the goal of Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) in the San Francisco Bay Area, while Vermont Land Trust (VLT) works to preserve "working farms, productive forestland, and community lands."

Some trusts such as Madison Area Community Land Trust in Wisconsin and The Community Land Trust in the Berkshires in Massachusetts combine land stewardship with community building. The Madison land trust is building a community that combines affordable housing, permanent greenspace, an organic CSA farm, community gardens, restored prarie.

PCC Natural Markets (which created PCC Farmland Trust) is not the only Co-Op to create a land trust, but they are the first. The approach of the PCC Farmland Trust differs from the method of California's Co-op Farmland Trust (CFT). Founded by Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, CFT will lend money for the acquisition of farmland instead of buying the land outright and leasing to farmers. As with the PCC Farmland Trust, CFT's stated goal is to create or preserve organic farming. CFT still is raising funds and looking for acreage to acquire.

This list above does not begin to cover all of the land trusts in the United States or even include organic land trusts in other countries, such as The Aberdeen Biodynamic Land Trust in Aberdeen, Scotland.

One U.S. resource for land trusts is The Land Trust Alliance, whose "Find a Land Trust" search feature allows you to track down farmland trusts by state.

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