Over at Plainsong Farm’s site, I wrote about the process of creating the #FaithLands Gathering after a phone conversation with Director of Creation Justice Ministries Shantha Alonso Ready, Steve Schwartz of the Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative in California, and Andrew Kang Bartlett of the Presbyterian Hunger Program. As we talked, one challenge in particular stood out: the country’s need for more young farmers and more sustainable agriculture, but access to land is a barrier.
While churches tend to have lots of land, some of which is suitable for sustainable agriculture, there hasn’t been much overlap or collaboration between land access professionals and faith community leaders. There isn’t a community of practice that helps the church reconnect with our Scriptural/agricultural roots and opens doors for partnerships with farmers. I know this because I know exactly how hard it was to start Plainsong Farm.
In the past nine months, I’ve been working with those I mentioned above as well as Kathy Ruhf of Land for Good and founder of Greenhorns Severine vonTscharner Fleming and now, two weeks from now, thanks to the collaboration of all these people, will be attending the first #FaithLands Gathering. Thanks to a grant from the Episcopal Church, I’ll be creating a toolkit for churches seeking to make land available to young farmers for sustainable agriculture projects, a draft version of which will be available this spring. It’s meant to be a very basic introduction for church governing bodies to understand the issues and consider action and it will be a free resource.
If you’re a church interested in that toolkit, please sign up for Plainsong Farm emails.