Buying Local and Protecting Farmland Forever
April 17, 2020
In the past few weeks, my family has been eating a lot of cheese. And I mean a lot. Crackers and cheese, mac and cheese, fettuccine with extra cheese, cheese for breakfast, cheese for dinner, cream cheese at all hours. We’ve been ordering cheese direct from MALT producers in ever-increasing quantities, in bulk you might say, and I’m happy to report that my three teenage children have been managing just fine with the increased supply.
Are we eating tons of cheese because we’re a tribe of cooped up dairy-lovers? Yes, absolutely. But also because it is the right thing to do.
My job at MALT is to fundraise, to ask our incredible community to contribute to MALT financially so that MALT can protect farmland, keeping it in agriculture forever. And while that may sound lofty and long-term, for me, right now, I can see how much farmland protection matters for my daily life. For my children and my family. Farms are where our food comes from.
In the past few weeks, we at MALT have been urging you, encouraging you, imploring you to buy local, to support farmers and ranchers who typically sell to restaurants, to help see them through this unusual time. And we will continue to do so.
But today, I also want to say this: over the last 40 years, MALT has invested over $89 million in Marin agriculture by purchasing conservation easements that permanently protect Marin agricultural land for farmers and ranchers. This influx of capital has allowed cheesemakers to get their start, ranchers to rebuild their barns and buy their first herds, carbon farmers to install methane digesters, plant windbreaks and spread compost and for young farmers to irrigate row crops.
Right now, MALT has seven more ranches in the pipeline for protection, with several more applications under review. Together, these next-up properties total 3,838 acres. As we protect these ranches, MALT will contribute more than $16 million toward the success of our local agricultural community.
And that investment, for me, is about everything. It’s about a healthy environment, a thriving community, climate resiliency, prospering local agriculture . . . and it’s about the giant block of Marin-made cheese my son Nicholas is eating right now.
In the coming week we will be restarting our online fundraising, and we hope you will welcome our calls for support for farmers and farmland protection, and will give and give generously.
Thank you for believing in MALT,
Jennifer Maude Carlin
Director of Advancement