Farmland Meets Finance

New from Food First and Transnational Institute: Land & Sovereignty Brief No. 5 – Farmland Meets Finance: Is Land the New Economic Bubble?

At the turn of the 21st century, farmland was still considered an investment backwater by most of the financial sector. The recession that began with the bursting of the US housing bubble in 2008 caused investor interest to suffer a momentary dip but also added fuel to the fire, as investors sought alternative, and more secure, places to put their money. Because farmland values tend to increase with inflation but do not move with the stock market, farmland is touted as an inflation hedge and as an excellent way to reduce overall portfolio risk through diversification. Financial investors are not the only actors buying up farmland, but their participation is a significant new development. The sudden enthusiasm for farmland investment is contributing to both the large “land grabs” taking place in developing countries and to roaring land prices in countries with more developed land markets. This report identifies broad trends in farmland investing with the potential to affect countries in the Global North and Global South.

This is the fifth brief in the Land & Sovereignty in the Americas series, co-published by Food First and the Transnational Institute.

About the series: The Land & Sovereignty in the Americas series pulls together research and analysis from activists and scholars working to understand and halt the alarming trend in “land grabbing”–from rural Brazil and Central America to US cities like Oakland and Detroit–and to support rural and urban communities in their efforts to protect their lands as the basis for self-determination, food justice and food sovereignty. The series–which includes short issue briefs and books–is a project of the Land & Sovereignty in the Americas (LSA) activist-researcher collective. For media inquiries about this series, or to arrange an interview with an author, please contact

About the author: Madeleine Fairbairn is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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