Help Develop a Food Access Land Trust

As a major hub of food production before World War II, Duluth has seen days as a producer of food for the city and larger Midwest region. Researchers from UMD have determined it is possible to grow all of our food in our local bioregion. To do so Duluth would need 50,000 acres of land in production; that is 400, 40-acre farms to feed us.

One attempt to help make this a reality is the development of a local 50,000-acre land trust for farmers and producers by a group just forming, tentatively called Food Access Land Trust. A land trust holds land “in trust” for the benefit of the community by ensuring that it will always remain affordable for farmers as acquiring land can be a barrier to many who would otherwise like to farm. A land trust can also provide the support needed for beginning farmers. As well, it can focus on soil enrichment, efficient transportation, and local processing, multiplying the environmental and economic benefit. Carbon can be sequestered in the soil, greenhouse gas emissions can be saved by coordination of transportation, and new businesses opportunities and jobs in food growing, production, processing, storage, and sales can be created to develop a strong local food economy. In addition to providing space for farmers to grow food, the plan also includes expanding food sovereignty efforts through access for hunting and fishing by Indigenous tribes through granting access to privately-owned ceded territories.

As it starts up the group would appreciate participation from anyone with relevant expertise, including pro bono legal advice for its incorporation effort. Office equipment and startup funds would also be helpful. In addition, the group would also welcome parcels of land or donations to purchase land and to connect with land owners interested in formally sharing their land with native people to support their right to hunt and fish.

If you are interested in getting involved or supporting this project financially, please contact:

David Abazs
Executive Director
UMN Extension Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships |
UMD | 31 W College Street | 114 Chester Park | Duluth, MN 55812
Office 218-726-6146 (voicemail) | Cell 218-940-2196 |


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