Saving Farmland for Colfax
Greetings all my friends, family and CSA members!! We have been in a long search to find a new home for Colfax Farm and are getting close to purchasing some land! I have been a nomadic farmer for the last decade, leasing land from generous folks throughout the region. But the limitations of leasing land have reached an unsustainable level for Colfax Farm. Without a secure and permanent lease AND affordable housing, I may not be able to continue farming. When my lease in Alford was abruptly ended this summer, it brought the issue into focus, not just for me but also for our community. I reached out to all of you to help me find a solution which led me to the Berkshire Community Land Trust and the formation of the Harry Conklin Fund for Farmsteads.
A collaboration between three local nonprofits, the Harry Conklin Fund for Farmsteads is intended as a community solution to land access for farmers. We are raising donations to buy a property and convert it into community land trust ownership. The Community Land Trust offers the farmer a 98-year lease for the land, while the farmer owns their improvements to the site, including barns, equipment, soil organic matter, perennial stock, and, crucially, housing. If a farmer decides to end the lease, they can sell their improvements at cost, without including the value of the trust-owned land in the transaction, keeping it affordable for the next farmer. The farmstead trust is intended to conserve working landscapes while making it possible for farmers to do the essential work of growing food for their communities and creating supply chains that are more resilient to disruptions like climate change. This model is pioneered at Indian Line Farm, one of our beloved local CSA farms here in the Berkshires.
It's been challenging to find a piece of land, and everything on the market is expensive. But we have identified a site that would provide a home for Colfax Farm, and through the BCLT, save the farm into perpetuity for farmers to come. I am asking you to help Colfax Farm raise funds so we can SAVE this piece of farmland, KEEP it affordable for years to come, CREATE a place for connection, and most importantly, provide a place to grow good healthy FOOD for our community.
Please give what you can, this is an investment in ALL of our futures.
We need to raise $350,000 through GoFundMe to purchase the land; but we will be fundraising beyond that as the farm will have many infrastructure needs: well, septic, greenhouses, and a home for the farmer. All donations beyond our goal of $350,000 will go directly to the Harry Conklin Fund. Hopefully, over time, this fund will have existing and rotating monies to create solutions for any farmer needing help in our region. Since its recent inception in August 2021, the Harry Conklin Fund has already raised $100,000 towards our efforts!
If you would like your donation to be tax-deductible, please visit http://berkshirecommunitylandtrust.org/get-involved/harry-conklin-fund-for-farmsteads-2.
Hopefully, we can raise the funds in time for me to get my hands in the ground this summer!! THANK YOU!
With gratitude, Your farmer,
To learn more please visit:
- Colfax Farm or email me!
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West Stockbridge, MA