Are we making a difference? Climate Land Leaders weigh in

What is Climate Land Leaders’ niche? What is the organization’s value? How could it be improved? Through a survey, group discussions and one-on-one calls, staffer Sarah Hunt recently gathered extensive feedback from our cohort members on these questions and more. Here’s what she found out.

Niche, Focus and Value

How does our organization differ from the others out there? Climate Land Leaders responded that we serve landowners, especially non-operating landowners, who have an important role to play in climate action. Our niche is leadership and knowledge coming from other landowners in the cohort — a peer-to-peer model.

Joe Luetmer and Ranae Hanson offer input on Climate Land Leaders’ niche at a September meetup.

What is our focus? There were clear themes: Direct connection between climate and agriculture. Conservation on working lands. A holistic approach. Implementing changes and working through the inevitable challenges.

What is the value of Climate Land Leaders? Answers centered around the like-minded and supportive community, relationships and trust among the cohort members and the information- and knowledge-sharing:

  • “A community that I can learn from, who understands the dire need to make changes to agriculture”
  • “A smaller and more intimate group and therefore more likely to provide help with specific problems we are experiencing”
  • “The group makes space for conversation about the creative and spiritual dimensions of a connection to place, as well as the real grief and loss we all experience as we contemplate the climate crisis”
  • “Ongoing information sharing between members…new strategies and resources that help me think in deeper ways about the decisions we make on our farm”
  • “The innovative and unusual – we try out some of our new ideas on neighbors and other folks and then come back to the CLL group and get reinvigorated and learn more and then go back out into the community…”

Here are some results from quantitative questions we asked:

The Climate Land Leaders Initiative is helping me achieve my on-farm conservation goals.



The Climate Land Leaders Initiative provides me with community and support.



I am more committed to addressing the climate crisis on my land because of the Climate Land Leaders Initiative.




Where to Improve?

Finally, Climate Land Leaders weighed in on how to make the project even more effective. The most common critique (and it’s often expressed as a regret) is that people don’t have time to consume all the information or join all the meetings. We will continue to experiment with ways to engage busy people.

As the cohort continues to grow, Climate Land Leaders say they will benefit from smaller groups focused on topic and region.

Most Climate Land Leaders have off-farm resources, but they still need help funding conservation projects, which can become very expensive. They’d like increased focus on specific project funding as well as general navigation of government programs. Other ideas include: more help setting goals, an enhanced onboarding process for new members and coaching with a veteran member.

All of this feedback from Climate Land Leaders will feed into our Strategic Planning, which begins next week. Thank you to Jackie Armstrong, Carol Bouska, Wendy Johnson, Theresa Keaveny, Joe Luetmer, Kate Moos, Meg Nielsen, Julie Ristau and Jane Shey for serving!