How do we keep farmland in the hands of farmers? The USDA estimates that 70 percent of U.S. farmland will change hands in the next 20 years. For each American farmer younger than 25, five are over 75 years old. As land increases in value and current farmers consider retirement, they often find themselves selling their greatest asset—their farmland—to the highest bidder, rather than to a future generation of farmers. This means more land is converted into non-farm uses, forever removing it from production agriculture.
Imagine parcels of farmland owned by participating members of our community and then leased to farmers for local food production. By finding a way for community members to cooperatively purchase the land and then lease it to a new generation of farmers, we can create new opportunities for today’s young farmers and break the cycle of the “land rich, cash poor” farmer. This model not only facilitates farmland succession, but also promotes local food security and economic growth. More importantly, it is a clear win-win for farmers, the community, and our regional food system. This is the purpose of Poudre Valley Community Farms, A Land Cooperative (PVCF).
Vision: Community Supported Farmland
Mission: We bring together stakeholders and create the connections and
relationships necessary to provide affordable – long term – access to farmland for our local food farmers.
Guiding Principles: To aid in applying PVCF’s mission, the executive leadership team of PVCF defined four guiding principles for operating the organization.
- Community – The work will be community-based and community-led and will support the vibrancy and sustainability of the local community.
- Cooperation – Through our cooperative model and our community-centered approach we will support collaboration over competition in all we do.
- Resilience – We will respond to our dynamic environment with innovation and resilience.
- Agrarianism – Throughout we will adhere to an agrarian ethic, as best elaborated by Wendell Berry, which includes care for the land, a preference for enough over too much, a living sense of the need for the continuity of community life in place, and respect for good, meaningful work.
Board of Directors, Staff and Start-up Team
Board of Directors:
- Maria Elena Price, President: owner of ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours and lover of good fresh food.
- Nic Koontz, Vice President: owner Native Hill Farm
- Kevin Jablonski, Treasurer: PhD Student at CSU and experienced livestock and farm manager.
- Zia Zybko: Local food advocate.
- Nate Turner: Local food advocate and soil lover.
- Erik Van Arsdale: Local food advocate.
- Kim Hoke: Associate Professor in Biology at CSU and self proclaimed planning and zoning enthusiast.
- Clinton Wilson: Executive Director – email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The rest of the start-up team is made up of volunteer soil lovers and local food advocates:
- Katie Slota: owner Native Hill Farm
- Seth Jansen: former President of the Board and Interim Executive Director
- Gailmarie Kimmel: Community organizer and long time local food lover.
- Martha Sullins: Front Range Regional Specialist – Food Systems and Business Management at CSU Extension
A number of partners are supporting us in various capacities: