Since 1980, when MALT was founded by Ellen Straus, a dairy farmer, and Phyllis Faber, a botanist, MALT has thrived at the center of an incredible nexus of interests: agriculture, food production, environmentalism and climate change mitigation.

MALT is committed to honoring this legacy, to operating ethically and transparently, as we advance our work. MALT manages both public and private funds efficiently and effectively as we protect and steward Marin’s spectacular farmland.   


Since our founding in 1980, MALT has protected farms and ranches across Marin County for agriculture. Information about every conservation easement put in place by MALT can be found here, along with more information about each ranch and its unique characteristics.

MALT also partners with the Marin Resource Conservation District on its Stewardship Assistance Program, which provides grants to farmers and ranchers to enhance sustainable practices such as carbon farming, protecting land around creeks and streams, managing invasive species and more. More information can be found in this program’s executive summary as well as in this blog post which includes recently funded projects.


MALT is led by conscientious individuals, committed to ensuring a bright future for agriculture in Marin County, as well as advancing sustainable farming and ranching practices that protect ecosystems and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Our board membership includes individuals with experience in agriculture, business and nonprofit management, all of whom have a deep appreciation for the dynamic farming and ranching community in West Marin.

Our board members serve three-year terms which can be renewed up to two times for a total service of nine years.

Learn more about MALT’s board.

MALT’s committed staff work each day to protect farmland, support farmers and ranchers, care for delicate ecosystems and connect MALT’s supporters with the foods produced in West Marin, as well as the land from which they come. To this end, MALT invests in regular audits and internal reviews so that our team is always operating according to industry best practices.

Learn more about MALT’s staff.

Policies and Practices

MALT’s day-to-day work is guided by a number of policies and best practices, including those listed below. Our board and staff are committed to working with integrity across programs and applying our policies equitably to all current and potential applicants and partners. In an agricultural community as intimate as that of West Marin, we recognize that it is essential that all board decisions and staff work be guided by clear policies that are applied consistently in decision-making about easement acquisitions and land stewardship.


MALT’s conservation easement acquisition program follows strict guidelines, updated by the board of directors in the winter of 2020. A summary of these policies can be found here. In addition, MALT follows strict guidelines when obtaining appraisals to determine the purchase price of conservation easements and other real property acquisitions or transfers. An executive summary of MALT’s Appraisal Policy can be found here.


MALT’s bylaws are the legally binding rules that outline how our board will operate, and guide the board’s actions and decisions. Our bylaws comply with all state and federal regulations for nonprofit organizations in California.

Conflict of Interest

In a community of agriculturalists, and with a board of directors that includes agriculturalists, it is central to MALT’s programs and policies that board members and staff are particularly mindful of the close relationships that can exist among applicants and board members. As such, MALT updated its conflict of interest policy in 2019 to avoid even the appearance of potential favorable treatment for our board members and their families.

Read our Conflict of Interest Policy here.

Gift Acceptance  

MALT’s gift acceptance policy, which was updated in 2020, provides guidance to development staff and board committees in all their philanthropic work. The policy ensures that all gifts accepted by MALT help further and fulfill its mission and priorities and that all gifts are in compliance with IRS regulations and state and federal laws. A summary of this policy can be found here.


As a nonprofit organization with a mission to protect and steward agricultural land, we work closely with farming families on conservation real estate transactions that permanently protect their land for productive agriculture. During these real estate transactions, MALT receives financial information and other private details about the property from the easement applicants. This information guides the development of the transaction and helps the board and funders make informed decisions whether to purchase an easement. MALT carefully guards any private information provided by applicants.

While MALT is committed to protecting the private information of easement holders and applicants, we are also committed to keeping the public informed about our policies and the public details of completed transactions.

Final easement terms, appraisal documents and funding application documents are available for all our acquisition projects through the public agencies that provide matching funds for these projects. These agencies are listed here, along with other partner agencies critical to MALT’s work.

MALT’s online privacy policy can be found here.


MALT is a fiscally responsible organization. But don’t just take our word for it! We invite you to review our IRS Form 990s, audited financial statements and impact reports for the last five years, which are available here. If you’d like financial information for years prior, please contact us.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) charitable organizationDonations are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law. EIN & Tax ID #94-2689383.

Accreditations and Charity Ratings

MALT is accredited and ranked by a number of outside organizations. More information can be found here: