LSP’s work is done primarily through three program areas:
Community-Based Food Systems
The Community-Based Food Systems program assists farmers, businesses communities and individuals to access just food produced with stewardship and multiple environmental and social benefits. In five years we will have: developed a critical mass of product produced with a high level of stewardship for regional markets; formed farmer collaborations to aggregate supply through businesses that return benefits to farmers and rural communities for processing, marketing and distribution; and educated a critical mass of people and institutions to purchase healthful food and renewable energy from diversified farms.
Our goal is to raise the land stewardship ethic through the lens of good food to achieve more diverse and perennial agricultural systems, healthy communities, robust local and regional economies. This will result in enhanced conservation and a healthier agro-ecology, a more democratic food system and multiple benefits of agriculture will be generated by the type of farming that produces good food for our communities and region. We have four primary strategies for accomplish these goals:
1. Organizing to build community power for people to create food environments in their communities that provide economic opportunity, enhance ecosystem services and provide access to good food for all.
2. Build leadership for and practice of land stewardship in focus areas (Root River and Chippewa River watersheds).
3. Build LSP’s knowledge and organizational capacity to effectively reach out to non-member farmers and landowners and effect land use-change through the practice of conservation and the ethic of stewardship.
4. Grow the supply of grass based livestock products by making the economic and land stewardship case for perennials and grass.
Policy & Organizing
The Policy and Organizing program organizes with members and allies to develop and educate about policy options that result in a fairer, more environmentally sound and healthier food and agriculture system at the state, federal and local level. We work on public policy at the local, state and federal levels and challenge excessive corporate power. At the federal level we work for conservation, support for beginning farmers and fairness for family farmers. We will develop the priorities for new farm policy we want to win in the next ten years, with the active leadership and engagement of LSP’s federal farm policy committee. In the next five years we will articulate and advance an LSP platform of progressive state policy priorities to help develop and support sustainable family farming and beginning farmers, community-based food systems, environmental stewardship, sustainable rural development and local democracy.
We will assess proposed policies with our allies in communities of color regarding their impact on racial equity, and adapt our proposals/positions as appropriate to address racial disparities in the food and agriculture system. LSP participates in statewide efforts to build the organized grassroots base of Minnesotans advancing health care reform that provides affordable and high quality health care to all residents of Minnesota. We continue to work on local control, factory farms and water quality, as needed. LSP contrasts the values and desires of our members with the dominant pro-corporate, anti-government narrative.
The Farm Beginnings Program seeks more farmers on the land through farmer-led, community based education and organizing. In 10 years we will have more farmers and a robust infrastructure in support of stewardship farmers. We believe that more farmers on the land raising crops and livestock with good stewardship practices will be a major part of transforming our food and farming system. With more farmers on the land there is increased diversity of crops and livestock for revitalizing local food system and more farmers with a direct connection to land participating in local democracy. To achieve more farmers on the land we will need to bring together people from the current farming community, new immigrants, people of color and people from urban centers to form a community of farmers that support and nurture each other.
To achieve our long term goal of more farmers Farm Beginnings seeks to create a strong infrastructure of support and training that is farmer-led. Specifically we seek to continue the growth and success of farmer-led efforts in and beyond LSP or in roles farmers play in shaping institutions, policies and community efforts.
LSP is a membership-based organization. Strong leadership development is essential, as member steering committees set priorities, develop strategies, and member leaders assist with all our programs within the context of broad priorities set by the board.
LSP disseminates information to the general public about LSP’s work and key issues in sustainable agriculture, healthful food, and rural development with regard to stewardship and social justice. Through stories and facts we inspire a growing societal call for, the public resources to support, and individual behaviors that move forward an ethic based on land stewardship, social justice and democracy. LSP is major source for news stories related to local food systems, beginning farmers, environmentally-sound farm policy and local democracy.
Our major communications include the Land Stewardship Letter, the LIVE-WIRE, blogs, podcasts, fact sheets, articles for other publications, this website, LSP-Now (twitter), Facebook, and videos.
Our goal is that the Land Stewardship Project will have smooth and timely technical and administrative functioning that supports program work with the lowest reasonable cost.