Food and Farm Initiative

What is the Food and Farm Initiative?

This program was launched in 2018 to address several concerns in both the farming and conservation arenas. These include:

  • Rapid loss of farmland to development
  • The increasing age of Ohio's farmers, many with no family to take over the farm.
  • The financial difficulties faced by new farmers in acquiring land.
  • Limited access to locally-grown food  in our region.
  • Dangerous pollution of our waterways, largely from farm runoff.

The Food and Farm Initiative aims to preserve family farmland, while helping new farmers learn the trade and build their own enterprises, in ways that protect our ecosystems and keep the fruits of their labors within our local economy. Ultimately, we hope this will support strong, healthy, economically secure communities in our region.

How Can You Get Involved?

Landowners

Are you interested in seeing your family farm stay a farm forever? The Conservancy has worked with numerous landowners to successfully protect their lands. A few things you should know about this program:

  • Your farm will be protected as agricultural land forever.
  • If you wish, naming rights may be included in the donation agreement.
  • Your donation may qualify as a charitable gift; please consult your tax adviser. Black Swamp Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
  • Land may be donated immediately, or as part of a will. Land may also be donated while retaining a life estate.
  • The entire property may be donated, or only a portion of it.
  • Donations may include structures, farm equipment, etc. in good serviceable condition.
  • The land must be within our service area.
  • The land must be free of environmental hazards or contamination.
  • The land must have clean title: free of defects, liens, or other encumbrances.

To discuss contributing your land, please contact our director.

Farmers

If you are a sustainable farmer looking to purchase land primarily for food production, this is what you should know about our program:

  • Initial leases will be 3 -5 years in length. At the end of that time, you will have the option to renew the lease or purchase the land.
  • We maintain a network of experts and educators in the fields of business, agriculture, and conservation, and encourage you to take advantage of these resources.
  • We require measurable standards of sustainability in farm practices.
  • We will work with you through the process of developing a sustainability plan.
  • A portion of food grown is to be sold to local markets: at farm stands, to local restaurants or grocery stores, through CSAs, etc.
  • When the land is purchased by the new farmer, the sale will include the donation of a conservation easement on the property.
  • Areas of the property that are deemed fragile or highly erodible must be retired from agricultural use. We will work with you to protect and/or restore these areas.
  • We are looking to put farmers with at least several years' experience on the land. If you are just starting out, but would like to work toward running a sustainable farm, we are happy to connect you with educational and mentoring programs.

If you are interested in participating, or would like to learn more, please contact our farmland preservation associate, and/or fill out the form below.