Ian McSweeney’s life work has focused on a passion for human connection to soil and food. In the first stage of his career as a social worker, he worked in school, residential, in-patient, and community mental health settings, with a focus on developing and operationalizing several outdoor experience based education programs. Then, desiring more direct work with human connection to soil and food, Ian shifted career to real estate, working at a private club in Montana, in residential sales in New Hampshire, and then founding a brokerage and consulting company to focus on prioritizing conservation, agriculture, and community within typical land development.
From there, an evolution into philanthropic work came about with the Russell Foundation first engaging Ian to facilitate acquisition a parcel of land for conservation outcomes and then hiring Ian on to operate and grow the private foundation. Ian was able to scale up the foundation from an education and land conservation focused mission that supported a few townships to a statewide-operating and nationally-recognized leader in farm-based fundraising, farm land conservation, negotiations and transfer, access and tenure, and stewardship and management toward sustainable and regenerative agriculture with equitable secure tenure for farmers.
Ian has now founded a consulting business, Farmland Consulting, to focus on innovation within farmland ownership, conservation, stewardship, and fundraising to support communities through farmland preservation.
Ian also leads Agrarian Trust as Director. Agrarian Trust is a nonprofit land trust established to support farmland access for the next generation of farmers across the United States. This work is focused on building the issue of farmland access, supporting stakeholders, and innovating and creating models and practice of owning and investing to holdfarmland in common. Agrarian Trust is focused to grow and evolve into the full embodiment of its mission and scale up to address the complexities, meet the on-ground needs, and provide models of success in address farmland ownership, conservation, tenure, and stewardship work across the country and as a resource of models for those working around the globe.