Ken Chikonzo pruning plants on his farm collective in Woodinville, WA.
Land Access

Farmer collectives: a pathway to land access

In recent years, we have witnessed the increasing challenges faced by farmers when it comes to securing farmland. Rising land prices, commercial development, and competing land-use interests have created barriers that threaten our local farming communities as more and more farmers struggle to find land that they can steward for the long haul.  

But there is a farming model that offers hope and promise when it comes to land access, one that we are thrilled to invest in more deeply as an organization: farmer collectives. Though this model has been around for centuries, interest in collectives has increased by 36 percent across the United States since 2013 (Food & Environment Reporting Network, 2021). Similar to cooperatives, farmer collectives offer an alternative to individual ownership, where farmers can pool their shared skills, knowledge, assets, and resources together to increase rates of success. 

Thanks to your generosity and support of our mission and with the increasing demand for creative land access solutions, we are excited to be addressing this growing community need across the state. We hired our first full-time Farmer Collectives Manager last year, Alex Machado, who is working to provide services to farmer collectives that draw on her unique perspective as a first-generation farmer herself. And our Farm to Farmer team has already made significant strides in supporting farmer collectives on their journey to accessing farmland, many of whom are led by people of color and working to get fresh, healthy, and culturally relevant foods to their communities. Last year, our team supported Ken and Ranga Chikonzo of Ubuntu Nerudo farm with their land search in Woodinville, among others.  

“Our farm collective is a place where people of African origin or other immigrants can come and grow something that they know, something that they yearn for, something that they miss. It is clear that people want to connect with the food that they’re used to. There’s something about eating the food that you grew up eating that is very special. And that has been really heartwarming to see on our farm – that there is a way for our people to really connect with each other through food.” 

Ranga Chikonzo, Ubuntu Nerudo

In order to continue this critical work into the future, we need your help. Will you make a gift today to ensure more farmer collectives have the resources they need to thrive?  

Every contribution, regardless of size, will be instrumental in providing counsel, connections, and resources to farmer collectives, helping to address some of the biggest barriers to equitable land access. Together, we can create a future where all farmers can tend the land and nourish the communities they love. Thank you!