WEST BRANCH, Iowa — One thing that unites us as a nation is land: Americans strongly support saving the open spaces they love. Since 2015, the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) has been doing just that for the people of Iowa. Now SILT announced it has achieved national recognition – joining a network of over 459 accredited land trusts across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work.
“Accreditation demonstrates SILT’s commitment to permanent farmland conservation in Iowa,” said Suzan Erem, SILT Community Engagement Specialist. “We are a stronger organization for having gone through the rigorous accreditation program. Our strength means special places – such as the Luzum Heritage Farm or Grade A Gardens – will be protected forever, making Iowa an even greater place for us and our children.”
SILT provided extensive documents and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded accreditation, signifying its confidence that SILT’s farms will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts steward almost 20 million acres of land – the size of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
In just seven years, SILT has protected more than 1,130 acres of Iowa land for nature-friendly table food production and helped nearly 40 farmers stay on or access affordable land. In a state where land prices have skyrocketed in recent years, SILT’s impact is more obvious than ever.
“It’s exciting to recognize SILT with this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the Commission. “Donors and partners can trust the more than 450 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance, and lasting stewardship.”
SILT is one of 1,363 land trusts across the United States according to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent National Land Trust Census. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission inspires excellence, promotes public trust and ensures permanence in the conservation of open lands by recognizing organizations that meet rigorous quality standards and strive for continuous improvement. The Commission, established in 2006 as an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts. For more, visit www.landtrustaccreditation.org.
The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust protects 14 farms for a total of 1,134 acres across Iowa. It’s mission is to permanently protect land to grow healthy table food. More information can be found at silt.org.
–Sustainable Iowa Land Trust