What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Food Tank speaks with Suzanna Denison, the director of Western North Carolina FarmLink, which pairs aspiring farmers with land that isn't being used. This creates a more sustainable agriculture system.
• Can services like FarmLink help with climate change as well? How can clean energy practices be part of the matchmaking process?
• Here's an article on the myth of growing diversity in farming and agriculture in America.
Raised on a farm and deeply concerned about farmland preservation, Suzanna Denison connects landless, aspiring farmers with landowners through her work as the director of Western North Carolina FarmLink. In addition to this matchmaking, she speaks at conferences across the United States about her work on farmland transition issues, highlighting the need to address the challenges facing both beginning farmers and retiring farmers. Food Tank recently spoke with Denison about her work.
"Honestly, my understanding of what the programs are capable of continues to evolve. But in a nutshell, we’re there to help with land access barriers and farmland preservation. We make matches between farm-seekers who are looking for land and either retiring farmers or landowners with surplus land who lack the time or the means to farm it. It’s e-Farmony.
The majority of my job is offering support to make the land matches as successful, sustainable, and viable as possible.
"The longer farmland is dormant and not in production, the higher the risk that it ends up in non-agricultural use. I see farmlink programs as effective at using current landowners and farmers to secure land. We’re addressing farmland preservation in the U.S., and part of our strategy is putting farmers back on land to maintain it.
Read more about pairing landless farmers to landowners by Jean Willoughby at Food Tank.