Working Lands Alliance (WLA) is a broad-based statewide coalition that, through `fierce cooperation,` champions policy and education initiatives to protect Connecticut`s productive farmland and advance agricultural viability. The Working Lands Alliance was formed in 1999 with the sole purpose of preserving Connecticut’s most precious natural resource – its farmland. WLA is a coalition whose supporters include more than 600 individuals and 200 businesses and organizations that include farmers, conservationists, anti-hunger groups, planners and local food enthusiasts. This coalition has joined together in an effort to halt the loss of Connecticut’s remaining farmland.
WLA is a project of American Farmland Trust. Founded in 1980, American Farmland Trust has helped win permanent protection for over a million acres of American farmland. AFT's hard work and sound strategies unite farmers, environmentalists and policymakers.
WLA is governed by a 19-member Steering Committee whose members are elected by the WLA membership for 3-year terms. The Steering Committee establishes education and legislative priorities for WLA with the input of coalition members, and engages in fundraising, education and advocacy outreach as needed. WLA has a part-time Project Director who is an employee of AFT, and contracts with a lobbyist for additional state advocacy efforts. WLA is funded by individuals and foundations, with AFT acting as the WLA fiscal agent.
WLA recognizes that a thriving agricultural economy is essential to maintaining Connecticut’s unique quality of life and precious natural resources. We also recognize that farmland is the underpinning of a viable agricultural community. Connecticut is rapidly losing its best
farmland to development. Therefore, our mission is to protect Connecticut’s remaining farmland from being converted to uses incompatible with continuing agricultural enterprise.
WLA believes that preservation and viability of agriculture in Connecticut helps to achieve many statewide goals in the public interest. These include:
A strong economy
- A viable agricultural base supports the fiscal health of municipalities
- Agriculture provides jobs
- Agriculture contributes to a diverse economic base
A healthy environment
- Agricultural lands contribute to critical green space and scenic landscapes
- Agricultural lands safeguard important ecological functions and environmental values
A secure supply of healthy foods
- Local farms grow the freshest food and reduce our reliance on distant producers
- Local agriculture means eating seasonally and re-connecting to where our food comes from
Livable communities that provide a desirable quality of life
- Agriculture is an important aspect of Connecticut’s local history and culture
- Protecting agricultural lands is an important element of smart growth management strategies
- Local farms help reconnect people to their food, their environment and each other
Looking ahead a decade, our vision is for the citizens of Connecticut to continue to enjoy a productive and healthy rural landscape and access to local farms that produce a variety of agricultural products for the region. WLA will have realized its vision when Connecticut’s agricultural community has a land base of over 150,000 permanently protected acres of farmland from which it can operate.