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In the News

Healthy Soils
Marin Indepedent Journal
March 19, 2019

Dirt takes center stage in the fight against climate change at a workshop sponsored by Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) from 1 to 4 p.m. March 30. Soil expert Jonathan Wachter will explain the basics of healthy soil practices and carbon farming and the impact on food producers’ ability to protect water sources, farm lands and animals. The $25 workshop is at Toluma Farms, a pioneer in carbon farming and also home of Tomales Farmstead Creamery, at 5488 Middle Road in Tomales. It will include hands-on activities, a tour of the farm and a cheese tasting. To register or learn more about MALT and carbon farming, go to

13th Annual California Artisan Cheese Festival Announces Participants for Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace

March 8, 2019

Cheesemakers showcasing their products at the Marketplace include: Achadinha Cheese Company, Beehive Cheese Company, Bellwether Farms, Central Coast Creamery, Chevoo, Cowgirl Creamery, Cypress Grove, Fiscalini Cheese Co., Laura Chenel’s, Marin French Cheese Co., Moonside Creamery, Nicasio Valley Cheese Co., Nicolau Farms, Orland Farmstead Creamery, Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Co., Pennyroyal Farm, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Rumiano Cheese Co., Sierra Nevada Cheese Co., Stuyt Dairy Farmstead Cheese Co., Tomales Farmstead Creamery, Two Rock Valley Goat Cheese, Valley Ford Cheese & Creamery, and Wm. Cofield Cheesemakers.

In keeping with its dedication to the community, the Artisan Cheese Festival has donated more than $120,000 in grants to local nonprofit partners that support local sustainable agriculture including the California Artisan Cheese Guild, Sonoma Land Trust, Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Petaluma Chapter of the Future Farmers of America.

MALT backs Huffman bill for Point Reyes ranching
Marin Independent Journal Readers Forum
February 19, 2019
We at Marin Agricultural Land Trust also believe that cows and elk can co-exist in Point Reyes National Seashore and the north district of Golden Gate Recreation Area. MALT members with values like Christin’s are at the heart of all we do, which is protect Marin farmland and, in so doing, the environment, too.

At 25 years, Straus dairy still pioneering
Point Reyes Light
February 14, 2019
Mr. Straus—who last week celebrated the 25th anniversary of the creamery business that grew out of his father’s dairy ranch—has come a long way from his early days making ice cream. He’s developed an economically viable business that exemplifies organic and carbon-sequestration practices, a model he is constantly fine-tuning and has helped other farmers to replicate. Activism, in the form of educating the public, is a major focus. Honoring the legacy of his mother, Ellen Straus, who together with Phyllis Faber founded the Marin Agricultural Land Trust to protect Marin farmland from development, Mr. Straus has taken it upon himself to demonstrate how farming is not only the heart of rural communities, but also our best fighting chance to reverse climate change.

Pioneering Straus Family Creamery Celebrates 25 Years of Commitment to Family, Farmers, and Food
Global Newswire
February 7, 2019
In 1980, Ellen Straus, Albert’s mother, co-founded the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT), the first of its kind in the country, which protects Marin’s farmland from urban development. Ellen and a cohort of local environmentalists recognized the importance of land stewardship in the farming community and developed an approach that would strengthen rural families’ chances to remain in agriculture by permanently protecting farmland. The green hills of rural Marin County are a direct result of her work.

Marin Gives Back
Marin Magazine
December, 2018
MALT is featured in the annual charitable donation guide as a local group making a difference in our community.

A Cowgirl’s View
Planet Cheese
October 30, 2018
Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) has slowed the decline of grazing lands in our area by purchasing development rights from farmers. These easements require the land to remain in agriculture in perpetuity. In return, the farmer receives 50 percent of the land’s value. Over the years, farmers have used this money to improve their operations, pay down debt and increase acreage. MALT has saved 50,000 acres of farmland in Marin County and stabilized our agricultural economy.

Lunch and chat at McEvoy Ranch focuses on ‘How to be green’
Petaluma Argus-Courier
October 11, 2018
After the panelists, guest will have a chance to walk through the Sustainability Information Fair and engage one-on-one with innovators on the front lines of fighting food waste, including Regrained, Preserve Farm Kitchen, Marin Agricultural Land Trust and the Ceres Project.

MALT sells Marshall land to ranchers
Point Reyes Light
October 11, 2018
In an uncommon move, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust will sell a Tomales Bay property to ranchers Mike Giammona and Andrew Zlot by the end of the month, keeping a conservation easement on the property with the help of county Measure A funds.

House votes to extend 20-year lease to cattle ranches on Point Reyes National Seashore

San Francisco Chronicle
September 26, 2018

“Without those long-term leases it’s extremely hard to do business,” said Jamison Watts, executive director of Marin Agricultural Land Trust. “This legislation would clarify Congress’s long-standing intention of keeping agriculture on Point Reyes National Seashore.”

Seashore bill passes House
Point Reyes Light
September 26, 2018
Others have shown wholehearted support for the bill, including the county Board of Supervisors, the Marin Conservation League, the Marin County Farm Bureau and the Marin Agricultural Land Trust.

Marin supervisors approve $1.7 million to preserve Tomales Bay ranch
Marin Independent Journal
September 21, 2018
“With its rich agricultural history and diverse natural resources, MALT is extraordinarily proud to protect Millerton Creek Ranch,” MALT Executive Director Jamison Watts said. “This 864-acre ranch joins a 10,433-acre block of MALT-protected farmland on the east shore of Tomales Bay, safeguarding critical habitat and ensuring this land will be used for agriculture forever.”

What is Climate Beneficial Wool?
Coyuchi Blog
September 11, 2018
MALT promotes more sustainable practices and looking ahead to create more resilient family farms while protecting that land from further urban sprawl and development. The landowners are the real stewards that can have an impact; MALT offers guidance in many different capacities to our landowners; features Jim Jensen, a sixth-generation farmer and MALT’s Stewardship Project Manager.

Ranching in the seashore
E&E News
September 5, 2018
"We recognize that in many regions of the country, environmental conservation and farming are at odds, but here in Marin County they go hand in hand," said Jamison Watts of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. "In particular, managed coastal agricultural lands are critical to the region's environmental stability."

MALT featured on OpenRoad
NBC Bay Area
August 5, 2018
See how MALT helps preserve farms and meet a farming family that continues its cherished way of life and provides us delicious products we can all enjoy, highlights interview with executive director Jamison Watts.

MALT accelerates push to protect farmland
Marin Independent Journal
May 25, 2018
Announcement of MALT's Farmland Forever Campaign goals; an overview of MALT’s mission and explanation of easements; highlights benefits to agriculture, climate, wildlife and natural resources; includes quotes from executive director Jamison Watts and Millerton Creek Ranch chicken farmer Morgan Giammona.

Women's Work
Edible Marin & Wine Country
May 23, 2018
Women’s work at kitchen tables has always been more than making meals. As a child, sitting at or under many a kitchen table, I observed the power in the way that women listened, formed relationships, built community and solved problems. It was at one such kitchen table, the one belonging to Ellen and Bill Straus at their Straus Home Ranch in Marshall, that the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) was born. The very organization that has since its founding in 1980 preserved 51,581 acres of farmland in Marin Country—in perpetuity. And it’s still going strong, still recognizing and utilizing the power of the kitchen table.

Report: America is losing its best farmland
San Francisco Chronicle
May 8, 2018
"The Greenbelt Alliance estimates that 217,000 acres of agricultural land in the greater Bay Area have been lost to development in the past three decades. The Marin Agricultural Land Trust is one local organization that tries to counter that development by creating easements that have preserved more than 51,000 acres of county land [sic] for agricultural use."

Looking to the Land to Mitigate Climate Change
Saving Land Magazine (Land Trust Alliance)
Spring, 2018
The accredited Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) in California helped launch the Marin Carbon Project (MCP) to see whether improved agricultural management practices, such as managed grazing and spreading compost on rangeland, could help soil take up more atmospheric CO2.

MALT protects Nicasio McIsaac Ranch in $3.4 million easement
Point Reyes Light
March 22, 2018
An easement on the J. McIsaac Ranch allowed the family who has been leasing the ranch for 137 years to purchase the 527 acres, while protecting it from multi-estate development.

Measure A money helping to secure West Marin farmland
Marin Independent Journal
March 17, 2018
MALT reaches 50,000-acre milestone of protected agricultural land in Marin with the acquisition of an easement over Furlong Ranch in Marshall.

Most of James Hetfield's Lucas Valley Ranch Protected from Development
March 2, 2018
Coverage of the consolidation and transfer of a 1,000-acre easement on Luiz Ranch in Gallinas Valley to MALT from the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD), a process that began with a series of donations of easements to MCOSD from landowners James and Francesca Hetfield.

Metallica’s James Hetfield Donates 1,100 Acres To Marin Land Trust
February 28, 2018
Coverage of the consolidation and transfer of a 1,000-acre easement on Luiz Ranch in Gallinas Valley to MALT from the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD), a process that began with a series of donations of easements to MCOSD from landowners James and Francesca Hetfield.

Ag Plan strives to preserve Silicon Valley’s farming heritage
San Francisco Chronicle
February 18, 2018
The new Santa Clara Valley Ag Plan, crediting MALT as a model, seeks to protect the agricultural heritage of Silicon Valley from development.

West Marin agricultural easement will protect Bianchini Ranch
Marin Independent Journal
January 25, 2018
Marin Agricultural Land Trust will protect the Taylor Ranch, formerly known as Bianchini Ranch, in Point Reyes Station, a 705-acre ranch overlooking Tomales Bay that is home to Bivalve Dairy.

Marin provides $1.3 million to help protect ranch
Marin Independent Journal
December 14, 2017
Article about the planned Furlong Ranch easement. Mentions each past Measure A easement by name. Measure A and MALT contributions are put into simple terms. Establishes urgency in rising land values and landowner succession issues. Jamison Watts and Jeff Stump are quoted.

Sheep, cattle ranch to remain on Marin County coast
North Bay Business Journal
December 12, 2017
Covers MALT’s planned easement on Furlong Ranch.

Metallica’s Hetfield offers more Lucas Valley land; building plans uncertain
Marin Independent Journal
November 11, 2017
“Metallica co-founder James Hetfield and his wife Francesca are offering to dedicate another 240 acres of their Lucas Valley property for an agricultural conservation easement, increasing the amount of land they have dedicated to 1,000 acres. It is unclear exactly what if any effect these dedications might have on the Hetfields’ previously stated interest in building four, single-family houses on 40 acres of their remaining land.”

Marin County To Preserve Undeveloped Ranch Land Owned By Metallica Co-Founder
CBS Local: SF Bay Area
November 10, 2017
In a statement, the Hetfields said, “We believe this is a huge community benefit, and one of our goals is to keep agriculture on the ranch for a very long time.”

Marin moving to add 1,000 to preserve status
North Bay Business Journal
November 10, 2017
Announced the Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the Luiz Ranch, MALT and the Marin Open Space District.

Larkspur artist preserves ‘beauty in our backyard’
Marin Independent Journal
October 4, 2017
Ranches and Rolling Hills artist Jon Francis is featured, mentioning his involvement with the MALT art show and quoted as working to preserve the “beauty in our backyard.”

Marin kicks off climate change campaign
Marin Independent Journal
October 3, 2017
The fourth of five strategies mentioned to raise awareness of climate change “involves local food and carbon sequestration” and mentions Marin RCD and Marin Carbon Project.

New Star Route owners open ears to community
Point Reyes Light
September 14, 2017
Covers an “informational meeting and question-and-answer session with representatives from the University of San Francisco concerning the recent purchase of Star Route Farms.” MALT was mentioned as being in conversations about purchasing a conservation easement on the property.

Confront California's biggest physical flaw at Point Reyes in Marin County
Los Angeles Times
The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State
August 29, 2017
Travel piece mentions “The Tao of the Cow” art exhibit at Toby’s Feed Barn, and mentions Marin County farmland data exhibited on posters inside the exhibit.

Science & Health: Farmland Can Sequester Carbon from the Atmosphere
Voice of America News
August 21, 2017
Showcases carbon farming on MALT-protected Stemple Creek Ranch.

Growing concern: Organic farms need a new generation to keep them alive
San Francisco Chronicle
August 21, 2017
With a focus on succession planning for the aging pioneers of organic farming, MALT conservation easements are cited as a pathway to succession. “Zoning is temporary,” says Jamison Watts, executive director. “Agricultural conservation easements are permanent.”

Thinning of the Curd
San Francisco Magazine – Modern Luxury
July 28, 2017
Featuring Sue Conley from Cowgirl Creamery, the article mentions MALT as an initial inspiration of hers and includes a poignant dialog between Sue and a customer about MALT’s remarkable mission.

Point Reyes man hatches thriving pasture-raised eggs business
Marin Independent Journal
July 15, 2017
Highlights Morgan Giammona of Tomales Bay Pastures

The More You Spend, The More You Save: How conservation efforts can make money
Oregon Tilth blog “In Good Tilth”
July 13, 2017
Albert Straus of Straus Family Dairy is the main feature, highlighting economic sustainability, the true cost of food, ecosystem services, organic certification, their methane digester, the Marin Carbon Project and the Carbon Cycle Institute.

County supervisors approve 2017-2018 budget
The Point Reyes Light
June 29, 2017
This article was corrected. It originally stated that the County budget allocates $2.7 million to Marin Agricultural Land Trust for “new acquisitions.” The correction states: “… provides grants to organizations such as the Marin Agriculture Land Trust to assist in the acquisition of conservation easements.”

Bay Area Bites Guide to Food Justice Organizations in the Bay Area
KQED Food: Bay Area Bites
June 26, 2017
A guide to Bay Area food justice organizations, highlighting MALT’s role in food security.

Sustainable Growing: Protecting Farmland with special guest Jamison Watts
April 14, 2017
KSVY 91.3 FM Valley of the Moon, Sonoma County
A radio interview with Jamison covering a range of MALT talking points and explanations of how MALT works. Duration: one hour.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust to protect 600-plus-acre Stanley Martinelli Ranch
April 7, 2017
North Bay Business Journal
An article about MALT’s protection of the 602-acre Stanley Martinelli Ranch in Point Reyes Station, MALT’s 80th conservation easement.

Marin land trust preserves 326-acre ranch in $1.66M deal
January 29, 2017
Marin Independent Journal
Covers MALT’s protection of the Dolcini-Beltrametti Ranch, creating the largest contiguous block of protected farmland in Marin to date.

Gary Giacomini, powerhouse of West Marin, dies
December 8, 2016
Point Reyes Light
Covers Gary Giacomini’s personal and conservation history as well as the foundation of MALT. Includes quotes from Barbara Boxer, Phyllis Faber, Ralph Grossi, Dr. Thomas Peters, Roberta Giacomini.

Editorial: Gary Giacomini’s legacy lives on in Marin County
December 7, 2016
Marin Independent Journal
Covers Gary Giacomini’s conservation history and the foundation of MALT. Includes a video interview with Ralph Grossi.

Marin Rancher among First Pioneers in Carbon Farming
September 19, 2016
KRCB North Bay Public Media (NPR/PBS)
Coverage of Carbon Cowboys event 9/18 with Jeff Stump, Michelle Cooper and Loren Poncia.

Ranching in Point Reyes National Seashore Called into Question
Fall 2016
Edible Marin & Wine Country Magazine
Coverage of the lawsuit against the Point Reyes National Seashore; MALT Executive Director Jamison Watts quoted.

Petaluma ranch preserved for agriculture
July 10, 2016
Petaluma Argus-Courier
A 491-acre Chileno Valley ranch will forever be agricultural land after a $2.23 million easement ensured that a large swath of Petaluma’s southern gateway will remain free from development.

Seashore’s ranches are vital to Marin agriculture
June 11, 2016
Marin Independent Journal
When a group of ranchers and environmentalists sought a solution to the “For Sale” signs dotting West Marin’s private farmland 36 years ago, they looked to the farms and ranches on Marin’s public lands as a model.

Marin officials fight attempt to oust ranchers from National Seashore
April 6, 2016
Marin Independent Journal
Marin County officials are rallying to support ranchers in the fight against a lawsuit they think would end cattle and dairy operations in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Report urges Marin and region to be vigilant in protecting farms from development
February 21, 2016
Marin Independent Journal
A new Greenbelt Alliance report highlighting the issues agriculture faces in the urbanized Bay Area urges Marin to do more to protect local ranches and farms. 

Tomales Ranch saved for agriculture as part of MALT purchase
September 27, 2015
Marin Independent Journal
The Marin Agricultural Land Trust has bought the development rights to the Fallon Ranch near Tomales, placing 186 acres of coastal pasture and cropland under permanent protection from housing.

On a Now-Protected Ranch Above Tomales Bay, a Chance to ‘Give the Land What It Deserves’
July 10, 2015
Bay Nature Magazine
The 25 people standing on the rocky hillside of Millerton Creek Ranch have arguably some of the best views in Marin County. It’s 9:30 a.m. and the low-hanging fog has just lifted, uncovering a dramatic vista of rolling yellow hills dusted with wildflowers. 

Marin farmers agree not to pump water out of creek to help endangered fish
June 23, 2015
Marin Independent Journal
This will be the last summer that three large Marin farms will pump water out of Pine Gulch Creek to irrigate their crops, ensuring that there will be extra water available to support endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout.

Marin Land Trust Saves Family Farms And Rural Life From Developers’ Pressure
June 12, 2015
Kitty Dolcini grew up playing in the barns on her family’s Red Hill Ranch in Hicks Valley, northwest of Novato. But her generation — the fifth in her family to farm in Marin — almost lost it all.

Marin County farmer an organic pioneer
Saturday, February 7, 2015
The Capital Press
Organic grower Peter Martinelli admits it took him about 10 years to discover his love of the land was a career.

Ranches Sell and Gift MALT Agricultural Guarantee
Thursday, January 8, 2014
The Point Reyes Light
Two ranches in Marshall and Tomales became the first to amend their easements with the Marin Agricultural Land Trust to actively require commercial agricultural use in perpetuity, a key part of sustaining ranching and farming in West Marin.

Bolinas Ranch Cuts Preservation Deal with MALT
Saturday, November 27, 2014
The Marin Independent Journal
One of California's oldest certified organic farms will remain free from development in perpetuity after the Marin Agricultural Land Trust completed a deal for development rights.

Editorial: MALT Saves Another West Marin Ranch
Saturday, November 15, 2014
The Marin Independent Journal
The Marin Agricultural Land Trust's acquisition of an 864-acre ranch along Tomales Bay is a twist in its history of acquiring vital agricultural easements, but its critical objective remains the same — helping to preserve ranching and agriculture in West Marin.

With MALT Protection, Ranch Aims for Cheese
Thursday, September 25, 2014
The Point Reyes Light
The 623-acre Thacher Ranch, a parcel near Marin’s border with Sonoma known to many as Rocky Canyon Ranch, is the latest ranch to be safe-guarded from the pressures of estate development after the Marin Agricultural Land Trust closed on a $1.8 million agricultural conservation easement, the nonprofit’s 73rd easement in its over 30-decade history. 

Marshall Couple Bequeaths Ranch to Marin Land Conservancy
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Marin Independent Journal
In what is a first for the Marin Agricultural Land Trust, the land conservation agency has accepted a bequest of a large swath of agricultural land. 

West Marin Ranch Receives Leopold Conservation Award
Friday, January 3, 2014
The Marin Independent Journal
The Robert Giacomini Dairy, home to the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co., was given the award by the Sand County Foundation, the California Farm Bureau Federation and Sustainable Conservation. It honors private landowner achievement in the stewardship and management of natural resources.

What Would Marin Be Like Without Any of Its Farms?
Thursday, May 16, 2013
7x7SF Magazine, by Dana Rebmann
7x7SF magazine article poses the question of what it would be like in Marin without our farms, and gives three great ways to get out on the land and support MALT at the same time.

Collaborative Student Restoration Project at Straus Home Ranch Protects Streams and Creates Habitat
MALT partners with the innovative STRAW Program (Students and Teachers Restore a Watershed) to bring eager youngsters to local farms and ranches to plant flora that helps stabilize stream banks and create habitat for nesting and migratory birds.  The latest project brought Ross Valley students and their teachers to the birthplace of MALT, Straus Home Ranch, where the kids worked on two streams and got a valuable, hands-on learning experience in the process.

Marin Voice: Measure A Protects Marin's Working Farms and Ranches
Sunday, October 14, 2012
The Marin Independent Journal
Marin ranchers and farmers Lynn Giacomini Stray, Al Poncia, Peter Martinelli and Albert Straus describe the historical importance of MALT in protecting agriculture in West Marin, and urge a yes vote on Measure A.

New Generation of West Marin Ranchers Coming Back to the Family Farm
Saturday, August 25, 2012
The Marin Independent Journal
A new generation of ranchers is emerging in West Marin, young adults who are going off to college but returning home to leave their mark on family businesses that have been around for generations.