Farmland Access and Stewardship

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Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group Chair Update

In 2019 the Farmland Access and Stewardship Working Group has had two meetings. At our Winter meeting we focused on solar siting in relationship to agricultural land, and land planning in Vermont, and regionally. This meeting included 5 different presenters on this topic - all with different aspects of the issue to discuss: from State and county process development, to regional comparisons of solar siting regulations, to pilot projects exploring grazing and forage growth in solar fields. This meeting also included time for group members in the land access community to discuss how models of, and structures for, land access and tenure are evolving - and for organizations to bring forward questions or comments they have, or which they may have heard from their members.  

Our summer meeting was a combination of discussion of the Exploration of the Future of Vermont Agriculture report, and a number of presentations and conversation focusing on agroforestry. Agroforestry practices and enterprises present opportunities for farms of all scales in Vermont and regionally, including: product diversification, water quality improvement, flood and drought resiliency and mitigation, biological diversity, climate change adaptation, increased milk and meat production through shade and nutrient rich forage materials, etc. Our different presenters brought us stories, information, and questions about projects, methods, and opportunities locally, regionally, and globally.  We anticipate one more meeting this year - likely in early December. Looking towards 2020, the Working Group is considering structural changes as the Farm to Plate Network transitions into its second decade.    

- Graham Unangst-Rufenacht, Group Chair