Education, Social Impact

OUR LAND 2 Symposium

OUR LAND 2— A national land symposium in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 9-17th, most events free and open to the public.


The local / regional food economy we want needs territory. OUR LAND 2 is a national symposium on structural land access, conservation and transition issues with a focus on the lessons of the Southwest’s unique Acequia system and drylands agriculture. This is a six day series of events, exhibits, talks by academics, activists, archivists, historians and some of our best minds on the public trust. OUR LAND 2 is presented by Agrarian Trust, in partnership with Quivira Coalition, Biodynamic Association, Santa Fe Farmers Market, Bioneers, Betterday Coffee, Rio Grande/ Northern New Mexico Young Farmers Alliance and the Whitehead Foundation. OUR LAND 2 is a follow up to OUR LAND 1, held in Berkeley, CA in 2014, which was a huge success with over 600 attendees from 13 states.

Through a series of talks, films, exhibits, and an interpreted acequia walk– we hope to open up important conversations on “ the land question”, in the Southwest and nationally. We’ll make structural analyses as well as frameworks for regional and collective action.

Speakers include both local and national voices. The keynote is by Mary Wood, esteemed professor of environmental Law at University of Oregon, and author of “ Nature’s Trust”. She is engaged in practical and legal issues of public trust. Other speakers include: Ruth Breach, Rick Prelinger, Kim Stringfellow, Sylvia Rodriguez, Allyson Siwik, Tezozomoc, Eric Holt-Gimenez, Miguel Santiestevan, Devon Pina, Stanley Crawford, and Alex Pino.

Artists include: Sharon Steward, Kim Stringfellow, Emily Volger, Ildi Carlise-Cummings, Kaitlin Bryson, Nancy Dewhurst, Erin Fussell, Bill Gilbert, Andrea Gohl, Ryan Henel, Catherine Harris, Jeanette Hart-Mann, Cecilia McKinnon, Sarah Molina, Hollis Moore, Hamshya Rajkumar, Kacie Smith, Molly Zimmer, Rachel Zollinger, and more!

During the water tragedy night we’ll learn about water privatization in “Flint” and theft and collusion in Owens Valley in “Paya”. We’ll also exhibit “Land for People”, a multi-media production about the land reformers of the 1970’s who tried to protect a family farm’s access to publicly funded irrigation infrastructure in California’s Central Valley.

Global demands and pressures have lengthened supply chains and concentrated control— water pumped from our aquifers irrigates low-value crops destined for distant markets. Cattle raised in family operations are sold at auction to be fattened on feedlots controlled by the beef monopolies. These larger structural issues shape the landscape here, and everywhere. Increasingly, communities recognize that a regional farm economy is more responsive, adaptive, resilient and culturally satisfying. We want more diverse, more local, less thirsty, more prosperous regional food systems. It is in this context that we talk about land access for incoming farmers, successful businesses and land transition for existing farms and retiring farmers, as well as mechanisms for restoration of degraded ecological features and infrastructures. We hope this event will increase our literacy in the systemic issues around our natural resources, and help us get motivated with community tactics and approaches.

Who should attend the Symposium?

Everyone who eats and loves the working landscape of their home region. This will be especially rich program for new and young agrarians, landowners, land-seekers, conservationists, farmers of all ages, land-lovers of all ages.

The Challenge of Farmland Access

In the next two decades 400 million acres of farmland will change ownership. Just in time for this pivotal land transition is a new generation of young farmers, eager to become stewards of our land and healthfully provide for their communities. However, these farmers face ever greater odds in accessing affordable and secure land tenure; the price of land in the US has skyrocketed in the past decade, and one acre of farmland is lost to development every minute. A sea change is needed to ensure secure, affordable tenure for this new generation of land stewards in this crucial moment of intergenerational land transition. So much depends on how we relate to the land.

Agrarian Trust’s Theory of Change:

There are fewer family owned farms in America than ever before. The current farmland transition is accelerated by investment + development pressure, ownership demographics, and a national farm policy that preferences commodities and export markets. Trends in the last decades have created increasingly consolidated land ownership, where new entrants and next-generation farmers face tremendous barriers to access. Agrarian Trust works to help individuals and communities overcome these barriers. For healthy and secure local food systems, and durable regional food economies many more new, family and organic farmers must get on the land—Agrarian Trust advocates for policies, investment mechanisms, and programs that support a more democratic farm economy.

Agrarian Trust builds the issue.

Agrarian Trust builds the issue of land access and reframe the solution through public symposia, collaborative advocacy campaigns, and stakeholder meetings

Agrarian Trust supports the stakeholders.

Agrarian Trust provides information, resources, professional networks, referrals and other support materials to the people whose decisions determine how farmland is managed and transferred, including landowners, land-seekers, farm-tenants, farm service providers, conservationists, investors and lenders.

Agrarian Trust creates a farmland commons.

Agrarian Trust plans to buy, hold and permanently protect farmland in communities across the country through our unique ‘commons-based’ approach, using alternative governance models and cooperative, community investment vehicles. The principles and legal agreements of the Agrarian Trust arise from Elinor Ostrum’s Nobel-prize winning research on the “patterns of commoning” around the world, with community land trusts, acequias and alpine/ pastoralist commons as templates for direct oversight, governance and adaptive management.