A Q&A with Renard Turner, co-owner and operator of Vanguard Ranch and founding board member of the Central Virginia Agrarian Commons.
August 9th has been designated by the United Nations as the international day of the world’s indigenous people. On this day people across the world work to raise awareness and […]
It seems obvious that we live on a finite planet, with finite space, and finite resources. Then why isn’t it treated as such?
Agrarian Commons farmers Cam Terry, Duron Chavis, and Tyrone Cherry III joined the National Family Farm Coalition’s (NFFC) first national fly-in in three years. A progressive policy organization committed to fighting corporate control of agriculture, NFFC gathered farmers, fisherfolk, and nonprofit leaders to lobby their congressional representatives. Our shared objective was to create a more equitable farm system for all.
The Dead Sea Declaration comes at a critical moment in the movement for a more just and sustainable system of land governance. Time and time again, the stewardship of land by communities who live there has proven to be the most effective way to conserve the Earth’s ecosystems and climate. Eighty percent of the Earth’s biodiversity is on land controlled by Indigenous tribes: not as a matter of coincidence, but as a result of the centuries of knowledge and care practiced by Indigenous people. These bastions of biodiversity need to be defended at all costs. The knowledge and practice of these stewards can help inform efforts to expand people-centered land governance around the globe.
A CLT, according to Center for Community Land Trust Innovation, “is a nonprofit corporation that holds land on behalf of a place-based community, while serving as the long-term steward for affordable housing, community gardens, civic buildings, commercial spaces and other community assets on behalf of a community.” Like the Agrarian Commons, CLTs are based on the premise that land should be held and managed for the benefit of local communities.
Black Seed Agroecological Village and Farm is still in the beginning stages of development. As is the case with most new farming operations, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before the farm can begin operating at full capacity. New fields need to be cultivated, perennials planted, and new buildings constructed. Turner is currently working with the Washington State Department of Agriculture to define water rights on the farm, and to identify the source of surface water that covers part of the land.
Agroecology is simply a continuation of these millennia of knowledge accumulation. Any one definition of agroecology as a practice would be incomplete. It reaches beyond a limited set of techniques or ideas, instead embracing the efficacy of agricultural techniques produced on a regionally, culturally, and ecologically specific level.
According to the survey, 59 percent of farmers surveyed reported that finding affordable land was “very or extremely challenging.” An even higher percentage of BIPOC farmers—68 percent of Indigenous respondents and 66 percent of Black respondents—gave the same response.
For Callie, successfully conserving agricultural land with issues of racial equity and environmental sustainability in mind took a lot of time and plenty of careful planning. After inheriting the land in 2015, Callie enrolled in classes at the local college and attended conferences on biological farming in search of farmers who shared her vision. Callie found a number of farmers who were interested in working the land, but only one couple was able to make a long-term commitment. Finally, after years of looking for a good fit, Callie and her husband found the Agrarian Commons model.