A More Inclusive, More Just MALT
June 15, 2020
In response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Maurice Gordon and countless others at the hands of law enforcement and vigilantes, Black Lives Matter protests have now grown to be the largest — and the most diverse — demonstrations of our generation. While we grieve these deaths, we are heartened by the unequivocal call for racial equity that they have inspired.
MALT recognizes that anti-Black racism — and racism against our region’s native tribes, and Latinx and Asian communities — has shaped American land ownership, farming and ranching since our country was founded.
MALT’s mission is to protect agricultural land for farming and ranching, and in doing so promote ecological health, climate resilience, prospering agriculture and a thriving community. Over the past 40 years MALT has protected over 50,000 acres of West Marin’s farmland from subdivision and development, and promoted sustainable agriculture along the way. What we have yet to do is examine and address racial inequity in land ownership and land access opportunities for all in our community, including for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. We recognize that in order to meet this historic moment, acting on the values that we hold as an organization, we must immediately accelerate — and deepen — our commitment to fostering the thriving community that we speak of and promote in all of our work.
In 2019, MALT completed a strategic plan which identified six key priorities, including initiatives to support next generation farmers and to address justice, equity, diversity and inclusion within our programming, and in the make-up of our board and staff. Today MALT commits to accelerating this work, to doing our part to foster an inclusive community that reflects the diversity of all those who contribute daily to the success of local agriculture here in Marin County.
This commitment includes the following actions:
- The immediate establishment of a special task force comprised of board, staff, community members — and outside experts, as necessary — to lead MALT’s justice, equity, diversity and inclusion work and hold us accountable;
- An honest review of our strategic plan to confirm commitments regarding racial equity and deepen them as necessary;
- And finally, we will listen to, learn from and regularly champion the stories and perspectives of those in our field who are leading the fight for racial equity in agriculture.
We look forward to engaging you, our farmers, ranchers, supporters, partner agencies and community members as we begin the work to build a more inclusive, more just MALT.
— MALT Board of Directors and Staff