TCALT- Twin Cities Community Agricultural Land Trust

TCALT is a community-driven network that advocates for long term, affordable access to community governed land for growing food. Our board, collaborators, members and volunteers facilitate equitable relationships between urban farmers, community gardeners and organizers, local government, and planners. We believe that growing food promotes community health and wealth, and provides space for intergenerational healing from the ongoing trauma of systemic racism and poverty.

Explore our site to find information about TCALT, ways to get involved, resources, and news about urban agriculture and community land trusts in the Twin Cities Metro Region.

Mission

TCALT advocates for and supports communities who seek long-term, affordable land access for collective stewardship and food cultivation to further racial and economic justice.

Vision

TCALT envisions a Twin Cities region in which all people who seek to grow food will have an array of tenure options that support sufficient and stable land access. In this future, land will be used to produce nourishing and culturally-significant food using sustainable agricultural practices. Food shared through care networks and markets will help meet community food needs.

Through partnership, outreach, networking, and education, we will work with organizations, residents, growers, and local governments to enact anti-racist and de-colonial policies and structures. Black, Indigenous, and other communities that have been marginalized by historical and current systems will be centered in creating liberatory relationships with land and food. Ultimately, TCALT sees an integration of agriculture and collective food cultivation into our neighborhoods, cities, and counties as a valued land use to establish cultural centers, build community wealth, nourish each other, and care for environments.

Values

The Twin Cities Community Agricultural Land Trust holds that permanent access to affordable land is the foundation of a healthy local food economy, including a commitment to:

  • Long-term land access: Permanent land access is a powerful tool to repair community foodways. It fosters stewardship of soil, water, and more-than-human ecosystems; develops a deeper relationship between farmers and community members; and ensures preservation of healthy land for future food cultivation.
  • Value of growers: People who grow food for themselves, their families, or their communities are a critical part of agriculture, our society, and our economy. We involve growers in our work and decision making, particularly by centering growers from communities who have been excluded from secure land access, to create just land and food systems.
  • Equity and justice: Long-term land access and collective stewardship for growing food are important to building just and equitable societies. We believe that anti-racism is a critical framework for working towards a more just food system. Our work targets policies that exclude communities of color and low-income communities from being able to grow food and maintain access to community green space.
  • Public benefit: Increasing land for agriculture improves quality of life by supporting physical and mental wellness; nourishing relationships with environments; creating jobs; providing space to practice cultural and familial traditions related to growing and eating foods; and maintaining green spaces that foster community building.
  • Local Food Systems: A strong local food system has the potential to foster resilience, connectedness, wellness, and economic opportunities. Community-based food systems build our ability to mitigate harm from climate change, racism, etc. Growers hold and share food knowledge that is vital to our shared stories and cultural centers.
  • Community-based process: We strive to embody collaboration, action, respect, creativity, and transparency in our process. We are committed to following the leadership of people of color, and being able to engage and collaborate with people from many backgrounds. We believe in supporting existing community assets, sharing decisions, power, knowledge, and resources among stakeholders.

Get Involved

Upcoming events

For agendas and updates about specific meetings, please sign up for our newsletter here!

Quarterly Meetings:

TCALT holds quarterly public meetings to share work and make connections. Please join us!

Tentative dates for upcoming quarterly meetings:
Summer – Tuesday, September 20 (6:30-8pm online)
Fall – Saturday, November 5

Volunteers needed!

The Twin Cities Community Agricultural Land Trust is looking for volunteers! Please contact tcalt at tcalt.org if interested; TCALT initiatives and the full range of volunteer opportunities are described here.

Join a working group

Summer 2022: Working groups working on (please contact tcalt at tcalt.org to get involved; we’ll keep posting dates for meetings as they are organized, and we welcome anyone to get in touch to host or help organize a working meeting at any time!):

  • Ramsey County Policy Review – identifying how policies support and challenge urban agriculture in Ramsey County
  • Rice Street Gardens – TCALT is working with Rice Street Gardeners to consider land tenure options for retaining long-term access to the site for growing food
  • SHIP Garden Kits – we are working with St. Paul-Ramsey County Public Health and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership to distribute funds to gardens and farms in Ramsey County for infrastructure and material improvements
  • Summer Programming – exploring potential garden or farm tours to create spaces where growers, organizers, neighbors, and policymakers can interact and share knowledge
  • Readings with various networks, including the Collard Crew (ecosystem and social benefits of urban ag researchers): selections from Farming While Black (by Leah Penniman) and The Relentless Business of Treaties (by Marty Case)

If you are able, please support our efforts by donating here or signing up to share your time here.

How are we working to achieve our mission and vision?

History: Read more about how we came to be — and see our current operations plan here.
Board Bios: Find out more about our current advisory board members.

Previous Events

2020

With the Twin Cities Growers Network, a series of online meetings:

  • So, you want to be a farmer?!, June 3rd, 7:00 to 8:30 PM
  • Finding Farmland in the Metro, June 7th, 5:30 to 7:30 PM
  • “Grower Spotlight” event featuring Naima Dhore and the Somali American Farmer’s Association, August 14th, 6 – 7:30 PM

Thursday, May 14, 4:30-6pm (online)

  • Michael Harris CURA Research updates
  • Ramsey County COVID-19 Response Report on Garden Access
  • Agrarian Commons design process, advisory process
  • Emerging Farmers working group and other partners moving forward

April 20, 2-4pm (online): Julie Ristau from the Main Street Project will be talking with us about their work developing an Agrarian Common with the Agrarian Trust, and we’ll make some plans for trying one in St. Paul, too, with the Urban Farm and Garden Alliance

April 9th, 6-8pm (online): TCALT orientation and initiatives update

March 12 and March 23: working group meetings

Monday February 24th, 2:30-4:30pm (at Arlington Hills Community Center,1200 Payne Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55130)

Thursday, Feb 13th, 6 – 7:30 pm at  UROC University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center

2001 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411

Our Community Wealth Working group will spend most of this meeting working through our community-generated list of initiatives for 2020, and considering appropriate funders to approach for these:

2019

November 17th: NeighborSpace!

Ben Helphand, director of the Chicago organization NeighborSpace, which helps make public land available as community stewarded green space, visited the Twin Cities in late 2018.
We met on Saturday November 17 from 1-3pm at West Minnehaha Park community center – and toured the key sites we will be discussing (Frogtown Farm, 625 Dale, and some of the green spaces between them) before that.

Our goals for this meeting were to introduce Twin Cities land communities to the possibilities NeighborSpace represents, to explore what might need to be in place for something like that to happen here, and to identify next steps for education and relationship building to get this conversation rolling more actively here. Please see the linked article by Nate Ela and Greg Rosenberg that provides a nice introduction for those who aren’t familiar: page 41 is the start of a case study about NeighborSpace and how it might be replicated elsewhere!

After our meeting, we hosted an informal open house from 4-6pm, with cake and soup.

Then on Monday, November 19th, we worked with St. Paul Parks to host a lunchtime brownbag lunch for land professionals that was very well attended, and we are following up over 2019.

At the TCALT annual meeting, we hosted a food-land policy workshop, sharing case studies across three states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Kansas.

The August 7th pre-conference workshop for the Urban Food Systems Symposium was free and open-to-the-public case study exchange between Minnesota (TCALT), Wisconsin (Global Land Alliance / Troy Gardens), and Kansas (Douglas County). (Noon showing of Arc of Justice, program from 12:30 – 3pm at Saint Paul Fellowship Church Hall, north of the Victoria Greenline stop.)

Martin Bailkey came from Madison (Troy Gardens, and the Global Land Alliance) and Helen Schnoes came from Kansas to join several Twin Cities hosts (including Valentine Cadieux, Stephen Carpenter, Lebo Moore, and others from the Twin Cities Community Agricultural Land Trust and collaborators), gathered for the occasion of the Urban Food Systems Symposium.

Our goal for our afternoon workshop on August 7th was to present core features of our work on access to land for food production near population centers in the context of metro / regional / statewide healthy food efforts, comparing efforts to support land access and policy change conversations — across three states with similar contexts, including vibrant regional food systems encouraging shifts to more supportive policy frameworks.

Shared themes include:

  • connections between efforts to secure access to land for growing food and for affordable housing
  • process of connecting policy makers and communities around land management for food uses (space for dialogue about solutions: examples include urban ag rules including new tax rules, farmers market)
  • figuring out what aspects of policy context need to be better understood for effective action

July 11, 4-7pm, Frogtown Farm Community Celebration

June 21, 3-7pm, Ober Center, 376 Western Ave North: Community Peace Celebration

May 9th 6-8pm: 

Where: 6-8pm Wilder Foundation Room 2520, 451 Lexington Pkwy N, St Paul, MN 55104

Welcome spring with another reading from Emergent Strategy along with reports from our volunteers! More agenda info to come.

April 11th: Volunteering with TCALT

Where; 6-8pm Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Eager to jump into land access work this growing season? Find out how your passion for land access can support the work of TCALT in 2019 and beyond. Join us for snacks and sign-ups for various volunteer projects.

March 14th: TCALT Board Recruitment and Election Process

Where: 6-7:30pm Saint Anthony Park Library (Basement auditorium room)

Learn what it means to be a part of a non-profit board and how TCALT structures our leadership. We launched our board election process and we want you to be on the ballot!

Feburary 14th: Love the Land Party!

Where: 6-8pm at Boneshaker Books, 2002 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Snacks and a storytelling where we shared the ways we love and honor land in our daily and seasonal practices. At 7pm we dove into a reading from “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Marie Browne to help inform and root our work on land access in transformative justice.

2 Responses to TCALT- Twin Cities Community Agricultural Land Trust

  1. Jim says:

    When is the next meeting?

    • August 7, 12-3pm at the Saint Paul Fellowship Church, 868 Sherburne Ave., on Victoria, in the block north of the Victoria greenline stop on University; BBQ to follow, 3:30 – 5:30pm at the Aurora Saint Anthony Peace Sanctuary Garden, 851 Aurora Ave, two short blocks south

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