$1 Million Investment for Marin Farmland Stewardship
By Peter Fugazzotto,
September 22, 2022
Earlier this year, MALT’s board of directors committed $1 million toward agricultural stewardship grants over the next year period, the largest annual allocation of stewardship funding in the organization’s history.
“With the generous support of our community of donors, we actively make grants to Marin ranchers and farmers for projects that build the future of farming and food in the county. And this year we are upping our investment,” said Zach Mendes, acting director of conservation.
As a result, we are increasing our investment in important ecosystem services provided by Marin farm and ranchland, including improved water quality and soil health, enhanced wildlife habitat and carbon sequestration.
Since our founding in 1980, MALT has protected more than 55,000 acres in the county (more than ten times the size of San Francisco) through the acquisition of conservation easements from private landowners. Today, our protected farm and ranchland represents a cornerstone for our regional food economy.
By working in partnership with local farmers and ranchers, we are helping secure Marin County’s economic and ecologic abundance — key ingredients for the vitality of our local communities.
But protecting the land from the threat of development is just the beginning in our commitment as stewards of these landscapes. Tending to and caring for the health of MALT-protected land is a perpetual responsibility and essential in fully realizing its contribution in the fight against climate change.
“While using agricultural conservation easements to permanently protect the land from development and ensure continued agricultural production is the first step in our long-term strategy, investing in agricultural stewardship projects is the next step,” continued Mendes.
These investments are organized and distributed through three stewardship initiatives:
- the flagship Stewardship Assistance Program (SAP) that funds a wide range of projects for ranches and farms with a MALT conservation easement in place. Since its start, SAP has contributed more than $1.39 million toward 138 different projects on 56 ranches across Marin;
- the responsive Drought Resilience and Water Security (DRAWS) initiative that has been key in helping ranchers and farmers in Marin (whether or not they have a conservation easement) quickly build the water infrastructure to survive emergency drought conditions and build long-term resilience; and
- the emerging Special Initiatives Program (SIP) which (like the DRAWS initiative) will be highly responsive to current community needs and open to all farmers and ranchers in Marin. We expect this program will be launched in early 2023.
Stay tuned for more stories of our stewardship efforts, working in partnership with local landowners for the benefit of all residents here in Marin County.
McDowell Ranch Protected Forever
723-acres safeguarded from the threat of development.