Here on Colorado’s Front Range, development is the primary pressure driving up land prices and challenging our young farmers who desire to work here. However, development isn’t the only challenge faced by food farms seeking affordable access to land. Investors speculating on a return from rising land prices are purchasing farmland in the U.S. and around the world at an increasing rate. While a handful of these investment companies, such as Iroquois Valley Farms and Farmland LP, prioritize the sustainability of the farm and the food it produces over immediate profits – though they are still making good returns – most of these investment companies seek profit at the expense of the farmer and our food. The article Buying the Farm provides a great overview of these investment pressures and the alternatives offered by the more progressive investment firms.
Poudre Valley Community Farms offers a model for community ownership of farmland – through the power of cooperative member-ownership – that allows those of us who are not accredited investors to play a role in preserving access for the farmers and ranchers of our local food economy.
He’s [Harold Wilkens and son – farmers] not talking about profit; the Wilkens, father and son, are making money. He’s talking about time and the condition of the soil, environmental impacts, and the quality of the food he provides to human beings. Harold needs an investor that will put him on land he’ll never have to leave, and not force him to “mine” it—his term—for the sake of predictable profits.