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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Agricultural Land Trusts: Preserving Small Town Heritage

Report by Blair Hamilton

In this report Blair Hamilton examines whether or not an agricultural land trust is suitable for the Rural Municipality of Franklin, Manitoba. Hamilton believes the “family farm” has given way to large-scale commercial farming activity, and that an agricultural land trust in Franklin would preserve small- and medium-sized farms. Hamilton gives context to his research by describing the land and population in and around Franklin, Manitoba as an agricultural community that is in jeopardy of losing its small farming roots.

Hamilton goes on to describe the land trust model and explain the variety of different types of land trusts that can develop. As he explains, the land trust model can arise from numerous motivations, including increased access or affordability of land, sustainable use of land, or a belief in broader community interest in how land is used. Hamilton also discusses property rights and legal mechanisms (to frame his discussion of land trusts). Hamilton explains that, for Franklin, the goals of initiating a land trust include promoting the economic stability of family farms, encouraging new generations to enter farming careers, and preserving the quality of farmland. Hamilton then states that for the project to be successful various conditions must be present. He identifies the most emphasized condition as having a unified group of people with a shared interest in the cause, who have a sense of community. Hamilton explains that concrete decisions must by made about membership, land usage, the decision-making and conflict resolution processes. He further suggests that a small set of rules, shared enforcement of those rules, organizational connections and sustainability are necessary. Without these guidelines and principles in place, Hamilton believes no land trust can be successful.

Hamilton examines examples of agricultural land trusts in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the United States. He points out their strengths and weaknesses and suggests ways in which the Franklin project could replicate some of their successes. Finally, Hamilton suggests the community responded well to the idea of a land trust. Overall, he believes that with the proper people and system, the Rural Municipality of Franklin, Manitoba could benefit a great deal from an agricultural land trust.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Blair Hamilton;
Publisher: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2005; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Municipal; Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Rural Issues
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Agriculture
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities / Rural Issues / 2005
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral / Agriculture / 2005
Policy Articles / Cities & Communities
Policy Articles / Regional & Sectoral

Keywords / Tags:

Manitoba; agricultural land trust; family farm; small to medium sized farm; community; sustainable development; land protection and use; property rights; membership in land trust; community values; community response; sustainable land; farming;