What’s Going On at MALT?
October 23, 2020
What’s going on at MALT? I imagine that question may be top of mind for many these days. While 2020 has been a year of transition — including supporting farmers and ranchers through the pandemic and economic downturn as well as the departure of two longtime employees — MALT remains a vital part of West Marin’s agricultural community.
As you’ve likely seen in local press and in MALT’s own communications, an applicant that approached MALT in 2015 with an unconventional proposal for purchasing ranchland is upset because MALT turned down his proposal. This person has since threatened legal action and gone to the press in what appears to be effort to tarnish MALT’s reputation.
I want to reassure you that MALT’s board is committed to operating with integrity and that we follow strict conflict of interest policies that are consistent with best practices for land trusts as defined by the Land Trust Alliance. We recognize the challenges of protecting farmland in an agricultural community as small as West Marin’s, and we have ethical safeguards built into our practices and policies to prevent conflicts of interest.
We continue to experience enormous demand for conservation easements and land stewardship services, and I can assure you that our strict policies will guide us as we navigate upcoming transactions with unique properties, complex family needs, and everchanging real estate and agricultural markets. We always operate in line with best practices for land trusts, and update our practices as needed.
MALT takes its responsibilities to applicant privacy and to transparency with funders very seriously. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about things you may have read or heard. We welcome the opportunity to put your mind at ease and help you better understand how MALT does its work.
MALT’s board and staff continue to serve MALT tirelessly to protect farmland for farming, support sustainable agriculture in the region and preserve this extraordinary place. I want you to know how much we value your support of MALT, and I thank you for standing with us in this trying time.
MALT Board Chair
P.S. We have developed a Frequently Asked Questions resource related to some of what I’ve summed up in this note. Please be in touch if you have additional questions for us!