It Starts with the Land
SECURING A FUTURE FOR FARMING
“Farming in Maine defies any single label. It is at once robust, thriving, threatened, modern, ancient, venerable, dirty, tedious, and hip.
It is as diverse and complex as the thousands of Maine farmers whose labor and love steward a million acres of working landscape.”
J o h n P i o t t i
After decades of decline, farming in Maine is growing and poised to bloom.
Maine is building a vibrant farm and food economy—thanks to the work of thousands of creative and committed farmers, coupled with the interests of tens of thousands of Mainers who care about what they eat and where it comes from.
Maine could be the “food basket” of New England. We have abundant land, plenty of water, better growing conditions than most people think, handy access to good markets, and great farmers—including many beginning farmers who want to farm here.
But just because farming is well-positioned does not mean that farming’s future is certain—far from it.
Farming here is in a critical period of transition, facing multiple challenges.
Much is at stake. Our economy. Our environment. The viability of our rural communities. Our ability to feed ourselves and help feed others.
We need to take action—and it starts with the land.
“The best land trust in the northeast—because their programs actually get farmers on the land.”
K a t i a H o l m e s
M i s t y B r o o k F a r m , A l b i o n
PROTECT MORE FARMLAND
It starts with the land.
Farmland supplies the food that sustains us. And each acre of farmland we lose threatens our future.
MFT is the major force behind farmland protection in Maine, completing dozens of projects a year, both on our own and in partnership with local land trusts.
It’s impactful work. But we need to do more—much more!
FROM THE LAND
HELP FARMERS THRIVE
Yes, it starts with the land—because without the land, there can be no farms or farmers. But protecting farmland is only the beginning.
We need farmers to work that land.
MFT offers a wide range of critical and innovative services, helping farmers develop smart business models, access new markets, extend growing seasons, “scale-up” production, and find land. It’s all good.
But given the demand, far more is needed.
MEET YOUR FARMERS
Let’s take this work to a whole new level!
In 2010, MFT announced a bold plan to protect 100,000 acres of farmland, while putting 1,000 farm families on a path to prosperity. To help pay for it, we launched our first statewide fundraising campaign.
By the end 2015, MFT had raised almost $25 million in cash from private donors, enabling us to protect 47,644 farmland acres and provide services to 537 farm families. Our work spanned every corner of the state, though much of it focused on central Maine.
MFT’s goal for 2020 is even bolder and more ambitious—because that is exactly what these times demand.
By 2020, MFT intends to raise an additional $50 million, more than enough to protect 125,000 acres of vulnerable farmland and provide 1,500 farmers with critical services during this time of transition. We will continue to protect and serve farms statewide, but we’ll have the resources needed to take on more projects in southern and coastal Maine, where the threat is greatest.
Raising $50 million within five years will require the support of everyone who cares about farming in Maine. It will not be easy. But together, we can realize this goal. Together, we can lay the foundation on which a sustainable future can be built.
And it starts with the land.
“No one is doing this kind of work elsewhere. Maine’s pretty special.”
A n d y S m i t h
T h e M i l k h o u s e , S o u t h M o n m o u t h