The achievements of beginning farmer movements of the last decade are exemplary, but land access challenges continue to threaten to dead-end the bolder aspirations of would be farmers. At the very root of the problem are the legal, cultural and social rules that govern our sense of property—what it is, how it is governed and how it is transferred. In the “Global North” strong ideological commitment to the virtues of private property make visioning alternative land tenure and land access systems seem implausible. Yet, there are examples of a land reform movement in the private property context which can teach us how to shift focus away from small farm entrepreneurism into deep political work.
This panel session brings together leading activists involved in land reform efforts from Scotland, France and the US. In these places, where ideas of private property are rarely challenged, these examples provide strategies for unlocking land for the public good. The panel will shine a light on examples of new models of “land reform” while looking at the efforts of beginning farmer movements.
Pandemics heed an ancestral warning in the United States, harking back to when too many Indigenous people were killed due to smallpox. That memory was especially acute for tribal regions across the United States with the onset of COVID-19. While many Tribal regions were quick to close their communities, many of them especially in the Southwest were still the hardest hit. Farmers, re-focused on ensuring good food was reaching elders and the most vulnerable, while at the same time growing and having to manage an onset of “support” that was not ideal for long-term sustainable food production. Alongside this came more interest in investing in Indigenous land stewardship that required leaders and collaboratives to form as a way to create a more holistic community-centered solution to the growing need of expanding production. Hear and learn from Indigenous leaders about how they have pivoted their work in powerful ways towards a more promising future.