The Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) was founded in 1980 to protect local family farms and ranches from mounting development pressures and to preserve agriculture in Marin County. Since that time, we are proud to have conserved more than 55,700 acres of land, a growing network of protected farmland for the wellbeing of the entire Bay Area.
Since our founding, MALT has been a product of a tight-knit fabric of ranching families, partner organizations, and an invaluable community of supporters. It is only together that we are able to create and sustain a healthy, vibrant agricultural community and pursue our mission to permanently protect Marin’s agricultural land for agricultural use. We have and always will be, in this together.
Despite our best intentions for building a more inclusive and thriving community, we recognize today that for much of our history our organization has viewed farmland protection separate from issues of equity and social justice. For too long we at MALT did not fully recognize that exclusion and forced displacement are part of the legacy of our agricultural system as well as the American conservation movement. It is past time to accept and acknowledge the realities of our collective history and work to expand MALT’s circle of inclusion.
We, at MALT, also understand that the past informs many of the inequities that persist today. Without properly recognizing the genocide, land theft, enslavement, and other injustices perpetuated against Indigenous, Black, Latine, Asian American and Pacific Islander as well as other marginalized peoples, we play a role in perpetuating them in the present. We share a story of race, power, and conflict that we must all strive to better understand and change.
Today, MALT is committed to advancing social and racial justice in all aspects of its mission. We believe that having an organization of diverse gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical ability, age, and other distinctions along with varied skills, perspectives and experiences, contributes to a balanced and effective nonprofit—one that is well-positioned to address the changing needs of the communities we serve.
To realize this vision for our community, we are committed to:
- Sustaining recruitment and retention strategies so that MALT’s staff and board reflect the diversity of the Bay Area.
- Investing in policies, staffing, and practices that reflect a robust dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and the improvement of our organizational culture.
- Cultivating a work environment in which marginalized individuals feel included, safe, understood, and valued. This includes identifying and deconstructing potentially harmful workplace practices so we can mature and thrive as an organization.
- Examining and building upon our land protection and stewardship programs by creating and amplifying policies that elevate the needs of, and create opportunities for, marginalized individuals.
- Providing training for staff and board and other opportunities for self-education and dialogue to address unconscious bias, further our knowledge, and ensure continued progress toward these shared goals.
- Building authentic and sustained partnerships with organizations led by marginalized persons, or representing marginalized groups, and other entities.
- Continuing to learn and adapt as people and an organization; recognizing that there is always room to grow, including learning from our mistakes, and holding ourselves accountable to try to do better.