Hello farmers, ranchers, and our agricultural community as a whole!
It’s almost 2021 and here at Farm Commons, we are especially excited because the new year is bringing terrific new developments! Our daily focus is to better serve the farming community through legal resilience, and the next evolution of Farm Commons takes a huge step in that direction. Today’s announcement is just a preview of what’s on the horizon, and I’m really looking forward to sharing the full details with you soon. While you can look for a full announcement early in the new year, here’s some initial information that I’m eager to share right away.
Our Journey So Far
One thing about Farm Commons will never change: farmers and ranchers are at the heart of everything we do. From the first ride on my dad’s tractor, to my years as a farmhand intern, through the day I enrolled in law school, strengthening the farming community has been my life’s work. I founded Farm Commons to empower each farmer to resolve their legal vulnerabilities— and I’ve been humbled by how the farming community has supported this organization in return. You’ve told us your stories; you’ve read our resources and asked us questions. You’ve stepped into leadership as co-facilitators of our farm law workshops. We’re here today because you have taken the time and effort to consider how the law affects your operations.
You’ve taught us so much over these 7+ years. Farmers are the best source of solutions to their own problems, and your creativity and innovation in problem-solving have been the lifeblood of our success. We might bring the technical legal details to the table, but you turn them into living, breathing, authentic resilience. I’m excited about what we’re building together.
What You’ve Been Telling Us
Just as we’ve laid the foundation of legal resilience, there’s so much more that we can build. Listening to you in our workshops, webinars, and programming, we’ve learned a few things about your needs. You need more. You’re learning a lot from what we’re providing, but there’s more to a resilient farm than a great set of legal documents. You want opportunities to connect with the community in more engaging ways: more dialogue with your fellow farmers, accessible online learning, and more direct answers to questions. Even more so right now, you are asking us for community-based solutions that are online and meet a range of technical capacities.
You are right. A robust body of sustainable farm law, created by and for farmers, depends on exactly that: more dialogue and community-generated solutions, online learning, and clear answers to complex questions.
Through partnership with Extension offices, state governments, and individual farmers and farm organizations across the country, we’ve had the chance to test these ideas and pilot solutions. We are ready.
Tremendous opportunity to meet our shared needs lies right in front of us. Through conversations with our partners, our users, advisory committees, staff, and board of directors, we’ve landed on something that we think is a major step forward.
Early next year, we’ll be introducing a membership program. Bringing farmers, educators, and professionals in as members will enable us to debut a bunch of valuable new tools: a regular series of online courses on farming resilience, a social messaging platform for you to connect directly with each other, and Q&A opportunities to discuss pressing topics with our knowledgeable team as well as your peers. These new offerings will be made possible by a very reasonable annual membership rate. Membership will also increase our direct accountability to you — our farming community.
We’ll be sharing more details on January 12th, and look forward to hearing from you then. In the meantime, we wish you all happy holidays and joy in the new year!
Rachel Armstrong, Founder and Executive Director