Agrarian Trust: Changing the Way We Think About Farmland and Food Systems

Ryan Honeyman
3 min readFeb 1, 2022

<div id=”buzzsprout-player-9945422"></div><script src=”" type=”text/javascript” charset=”utf-8"></script>

Subscribe to Next Economy Now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Google Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you find podcasts.

For too long, the personal property model, instituted by white settlers, has dominated the agricultural space. This has resulted in an unjust, inequitable system within which less than 2% of farmland is owned by people of color. The Agrarian Trust is on a mission to change this through “transitioning farmland from a commoditized market place into a community-centered commons.”

The Agrarian Commons model which they have developed focuses on the human connection to soil and food, and the Agrarian Trust itself looks at bringing together knowledge and resources to support local communities in creating new ways of holding and working with land.

In today’s episode, Ian McSweeney, the director of the Agrarian Trust, and his colleague, Eliza Spellman Taylor, join us to share the journey that this growing organization has been on for the past few years, what the future holds for them, and how we can all be a part of changing our food system for the better.

— -

Key Points From This Episode:

  • How the Agrarian Trust came into being, and the three-part mission which forms the foundation of this organization.
  • An explanation of the relationship between the Agrarian Commons and the Agrarian Trust.
  • The intention behind the creation of the Agrarian Commons model.
  • Examples of the Agrarian Commons model in action.
  • Statistics which highlight the unjustness of the agricultural system.
  • The transition period we are currently in the midst of with regard to land ownership.
  • What the future looks like for the Agrarian Commons and the Agrarian Trust.
  • How the Agrarian Commons model benefits food growers, food consumers, and the planet as a whole.
  • Ways that you can support the work being done by the Agrarian Trust.

— -


“Agrarian Commons is inherently about communities, land, people, farmers, and how all of those move and support a healthy system.” — Eliza Spellman Taylor

“We had the intention of trying to create a model, the Agrarian Commons, that has some shared values and structure and similarities, and also is unique to place.” — Ian McSweeney

“Less than 2% of farmland is owned by people of color, and over 70% of farmers and farmworkers are people of color. It’s so grossly unjust.” — Ian McSweeney

“A lot of communities are really interested in not mimicking the white settler personal property model that we’ve had in this country since its beginning, but instead creating a new way of decommodifying land and holding land in community.” — Eliza Spellman Taylor

— -

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Ian McSweeney —

Eliza Spellman Taylor —

Agrarian Trust —

— -

LIFT Economy Newsletter

Join 7000+ subscribers and get our free 60 point business design checklist — plus monthly tips, advice, and resources to help you build the Next Economy:

— -

Next Economy MBA

This episode is brought to you by the Next Economy MBA.

What would a business education look like if it was completely redesigned for the benefit of all life? This is why the team at LIFT Economy created the Next Economy MBA (

The Next Economy MBA is a nine month online course for folks who want to learn key business fundamentals (e.g., vision, culture, strategy, and operations) from an equitable, inclusive, and regenerative perspective.

Join the growing network of 300+ alumni who have been exposed to new solutions, learned essential business skills, and joined a lifelong peer group that is catalyzing a global shift towards an economy that works for all life.

Learn more at

— -

Show Notes + Other Links

For detailed show notes and interviews with past guests, please visit

If you enjoy the podcast, please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts by visiting:

Music by Chris Zabriskie:



Ryan Honeyman

Partner at LIFT Economy. B Corp Nerd. Coauthor of “The B Corp Handbook” and "The Next Economy MBA." Co-host of "Beyond the B" and "Next Economy Now" podcasts.