Restoring Native Pollinator Habitats with the Agrarian Commons

Aug 15, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Agrarian Trust, Sustainable Farming • By Noah Wurtz

In the past twenty years, habitat loss, pests, pathogens, a lack of genetic diversity among pollinator species, and the reckless use of pesticides has caused a drastic drop in the United State’s pollinator population. Between April 2020 and April 2021 alone, beekeepers report losing 45.1 percent of managed honey bee colonies. This loss of pollinators impedes the function of successful ecosystems and poses a direct threat to farmers’ ability to successfully grow food. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), about “one mouthful in three in our diet directly or indirectly benefits from honey bee pollination.”

Enclosure: Old and New

Jul 25, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Agrarian Trust, Land Access Stories • By Noah Wurtz

The Agrarian Commons is part of a long history of innovative commoning practices that have been formed in opposition to the commodification of land. Yet the dominant narrative in history textbooks frames the commons as a relic of the past, rendered obsolete by the “enclosures,” or widespread land grabbing that lasted from the 15th to 17th century. This narrative has been challenged by thinkers and activists who recognize that around the world, commoners are still actively fighting against efforts to grab their land and overturn traditional land rights. Agrarian Trust stands with these commoners as they seek to articulate a new, just vision of land tenure. 

Commodity or Commons: Finance Capital and the Commodification of Land

Jul 13, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Agrarian Trust, Food Systems and Security • By Noah Wurtz

The first major entity to begin investing in farmland as an asset was Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA)—one of the largest pension firms in the United States, with $1,375 billion in assets. In 2007, the TIAA began purchasing enormous tracts of land. By 2017, the TIAA owned more than 1.9 million acres of farmland worldwide— an area significantly larger than the state of Maryland—including over 490,000 acres in Brazil alone. TIAA’s purchases in Brazil led to the consolidation of power in the hands of a small number of agribusinesses specializing in soy monoculture, driving farmers off their traditional land in record numbers, and leading to widespread deforestation, wildfires, and loss of biodiversity.

Oasis and Community in Petersburg, Virginia

Jun 30, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Food Systems and Security, Giving and Fundraisers, Land Justice and Equity • By Noah Wurtz

“What it means for our community… it means a sense of hope,” said Cherry. “It’s a light in a very dark time, not just for our city, but even for our country. And its potential for our youth, to know that something besides a place like Walmart exists here—that’s big. Something to be proud about, to say we have a community farm, something we’ve worked for—to have that kind of light in Petersburg.”

Virginia, a Resettlement State

Jun 22, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Food Systems and Security • By April Jones

America has always been a mix of cultural food traditions. We enjoy the freedom to explore taste and see the bounty of the many foodways, which allows us to be a part of the expansive American awareness. As cities become more culturally diverse, it is a chance for a renewed cultural fusion. 

The state of Virginia has a resettlement program that makes space for this cultural interchange, facilitating new boundaries of cultural storytelling.

Healing the Land Through Community Collaboration in the Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons

Jun 02, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Sustainable Farming • By Noah Wurtz

As the campaign to raise $426,250 to purchase Lick Run Farm gains momentum, the Harvest Collective, a Virginia-based collaborative farming group, is already hard at work preparing Lick Run for its new place in the Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons. Along with Cam Terry, the head farmer at Garden Variety Harvests, the collective has been mowing grass, laying tarps, and completing small construction projects around the land.

Cultivating Resiliency in Roanoke, Virginia

May 17, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Food Systems and Security, Giving and Fundraisers, Land Access Stories, Land Justice and Equity • By Briana Olson

As a recipient of Roanoke City’s share of American Rescue Plan funding, LEAP is working to create a centralized food hub about a mile down the road from Lick Run Farm farm, where Cam plans to take his vision for growing food and building community to the next level. Once the funds are raised, the land will become the founding farm for the Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons: a space where Cam can build soil, host workshops, and raise vegetables to be sold on-site as well as through LEAP’s new food hub.

Explore the Farm and Fundraise with Frankie the Cat

May 09, 2022 • Agrarian Commons, Giving and Fundraisers • By Noah Wurtz

The authors of Frankie Explores the Farm, Courtney Taylor and Harmony Marquardt, are donating the proceeds from their new book to the fundraising campaign for Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons. By purchasing a copy on Agrarian Trust’s website, you can contribute to Southwest Virginia Agrarian Common’s effort to raise more than $250,000 to purchase Lick Run Farm and ensure that the farm’s 3.5 acres remain accessible and productive.