Food Security Requires Land Security
Time: Saturday, 9:45 am to 11:15 am
Jim Hafner, Executive Director, Land For Good
Julie Kurtz, MS/MPH Candidate, Agriculture/Food/Environment, Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; School of Public Health
Key Words: Agricultural land tenure; land access, farm transition
Food security depends on the land security of the people who produce food. Secure land tenure is the foundation of a diverse, resilient food system because it is key to farmers producing food sustainably. Access to land is the top challenge for new and expanding US farmers, regardless of region, scale or type of farm. And with the average age of US farmers nearly 58, far too few older farmers have plans for transitioning their farms to the next generation or a non-family successor. To keep land in farming for sustainable food production, more must be done to help farm seekers and transitioning farm families, including socially disadvantaged populations and those confronting bias and discrimination. Increasingly, food advocates, communities and policymakers are addressing issues of land access, tenure and transfer, and connecting the dots between food security and land security.
Panelists will discuss the historical and cultural contexts around agricultural land tenure in the U.S. and the structural inequities that underlie the land tenure issue. They will present successful, promising and innovative approaches to address farmland affordability, tenure security and equity, and farm legacy. Based on work in New England – and drawing on examples from across the US – research findings and policy opportunities at the local, state and federal levels will be shared. Session participants will engage in discussion about what they can do to improve land access and transfer to strengthen food systems.