Agrarian Commons Model

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= U.S. project to create Agrarian trusts that can purchase land from retiring farmers to benefit young farmers



"Today Agrarian Trust announces the launch of a transformative new model for community-based farm and ranch ownership and tenure, the Agrarian Commons. After several years of development and collaborative input, the Agrarian Commons launches in 10 states across the country. Co-founded with 12 farms representing 2,400 acres of diversified agriculture serving local foodsheds and communities, the Agrarian Commons is a profoundly collaborative endeavor and central to Agrarian Trust’s mission to support land access for the next generation of farmers." (


"Starting in 2019, we began to co-create the Agrarian Commons model through a collaborative process in which two Agrarian Commons Creation Committees gathered over the course of two years to develop and refine the model. Members of the first group included national organizations, attorneys, and aligned partners. The second group consists of founding farms and organizations across the 10 states where a local Agrarian Commons has now been established."


Why We Need an Agrarian Commons — Now More than Ever

"Hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland have been lost in recent decades due to consolidation and over-development. Mid-sized farms have been among the worst affected by the expansion of industrialized agriculture and extreme corporate concentration. Yet mid-sized farms operate at a scale that can feed, employ, and anchor communities. The dominance of this extractive, exploitative model of production “externalizes” the costs of its impacts as much as it destroys the social and ecological fabric of its surrounding community. A great deal of the best quality farmland has thus been drastically damaged or placed out of reach of most small and mid-scale producers. These and other trends related to industrial agriculture harm local economies and deepen inequities in land ownership.

Acquiring farmland is often a prolonged struggle for beginning farmers. From the skyrocketing cost of farmland to a lack of financial resources and support, thousands of beginning farmers have little hope of developing financially viable businesses. Elder farmers who wish to retire and pass on their farms to a new generation often find themselves trapped as so few beginning farmers can afford to purchase their farms. Elder farmers in need of health care and end-of-life care are in some cases all but forced to sell their farms on a market that brings compensation only through values derived from extracting from, consolidating, or developing the farm in ways that harm the land.

The Agrarian Commons model works to address many of the difficulties facing farmers at these different stages of life by creating an equitable path forward for our elders to retire with dignity and for beginners to get a strong start, without being forced to take on crushing debt." (