Land access and food security have always been important issues for Kingston Land Trust, but they have emerged as even greater priorities during the pandemic.
"Kingston Land Trust has always taken a holistic approach to creating access to land," says Executive Director Julia Farr. "It's a way for us to connect with our urban community in a hands-on way: growing food."
In addition to launching South Pine Street Farm, an urban agriculture project and seasonal farm stand, the upstate New York land trust maintains an online portal that matches landowners with community members who want to grow food.
"We're getting calls every day," Farr says. "We're doing a lot more creative work to match people with property. We're figuring it out on the fly because we want to respond to COVID-19. Not everyone has a backyard where they can grow food. We're trying to level the playing field."
The land trust's Land for Food Fund supports its many efforts to promote land resilience and self-reliance, from planting fruit trees around Kingston to supplying seeds to aspiring gardeners. A key to the land trust's success is building partnerships with local partners, from seed and compost companies to local landowners.
"Knowing who the players are in the area, and whom we can contact in a pinch — and building those relationships — is allowing this to take off," Farr says.