In perpetuity: the long haul of land stewardship
by Kristin Vogel, PCC Farmland Trust Administrator
This article was originally published in March 2008
Since the inception of the PCC Farmland Trust, the urgency to save farmland has intensified each year.
Development, sprawl, skyrocketing land costs, pollution — these are just a few of a long list of forces that threaten local, small-scale sustainable agriculture. It’s vital that we continue to pool our resources to secure and preserve threatened farmland.
But saving land is just the beginning of our commitment. It’s not enough just to conserve pieces of property. We also need to make sure that we preserve good use of farmland.
Acting as good stewards of the land is integral to the mission of the PCC Farmland Trust and this year we’re beginning to focus more on stewardship priorities.
During our tour of Nash Huber’s Delta Farm in January, we learned about the myriad of ways that he and his apprentice farmers listen to and learn from the land and its cycles. Their stewardship of the land is deeply personal and distinctly long-term. By necessity, their relationship with food security and sustainable production is forward-looking: their livelihoods depend on it.
It’s not a stretch to say that all our lives depend on wise land stewardship. Our global food supply relies entirely on a few inches of topsoil on the surface of the earth. As a result of industrial agriculture and poor land management practices, topsoil is being lost at up to 40 times the rate it can be replenished.
Nash Huber is one of the very few farmers who employs organic no-till methods that build soil instead of stripping it. (Most no-till farmers use herbicides to control weeds.) This is one of many ways that Nash and other organic farmers are responsible land stewards.
Stewardship is the element of land preservation that looks to the future, the greater good, and the commitment to farm sustainably “in perpetuity.”
In this spirit, the trust has begun work with another local organization, Stewardship Partners, to design comprehensive stewardship plans for all our farms. We’re delighted to be working with Stewardship Partners and deepening our commitment to the long haul of sustainable land management and conservation.
We invite you to join us in our stewardship work. Consider making a tax-deductible donation to the PCC Farmland Trust to be certain that farmers such as Nash and the young farmers who work beside him are able to have the kind of relationship with farmland that will ensure its sustainable and productive use not just for our generation, but for many to come.