There are many possible pathways to access land for agroforestry, each with its own opportunities and challenges.
View or download our free Land Access Spotlights to see examples of existing agroforestry land access partnerships!
Land Access Spotlights
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Feral Farm is a 10-acre chestnut alley cropping operation located on land leased from a 290-acre grass-based grazing farm in Wisconsin. Casey Dahl (“the farmer”) planted the farm in 2014 as a perennial polyculture operation that included small fruits and other plantings. The operation and business model shifted since to focus on chestnuts to accommodate changes in the farmer’s lifestyle, including moving over 200 miles away. Despite the challenges of distance, the farmer and landowner have worked closely to keep their arrangement mutually beneficial. The landowner has continued to operate the grazing farm and communicates with the farmer when the chestnut operation requires attention.
Greg and Jan Judy (“the farmers”) own Green Pastures Farm, a grazing operation in Missouri that includes sixteen 16 separate properties; twelve of these properties are leased. Green Pastures Farm’s primary products are grass fed and finished beef, hair sheep, timber, and log-grown mushrooms. They also work with two other farmers on their land who raise and manage hogs and goats. Their animal management strategy focuses on keeping inputs low by working in balance with the natural landscapes of their properties. Green Pastures Farm currently manages 1600 acres, with 700 acres in grass and 900 acres in woodland.
Greg & Jan Judy, Green Pastures Farm
Main Street Project (MSP) is a 501(c)(3) non-prot organization focused on developing programs to increase skills, income, and job access for Latinx immigrants working in the low-wage agricultural and food industries. Since 2010, MSP has piloted an innovative poultry agroforestry production system. Their related programs cover business planning, hands-on training, mentorship, and best practices for land stewardship, expansion, and replication. After almost a decade of developing and testing this model, MSP was ready to scale up and expand beyond their existing half-acre units.
Main Street Project
Midwest Agroforestry Solutions, founded by Kevin Wolz (“the farmer”) in 2013, establishes agroforestry-focused farms in the Midwest USA. The company currently has two farms, Vulcan Farm and Saturn Farm, both under long-term leases; each farm has distinct lease structures, operations, and goals. Saturn Farm is designed as a commercial chestnut, hazelnut, and currant operation. Just like Vulcan, the farmer and the landowner at Saturn Farm knew each other for several years prior to signing the lease. Vulcan Farm, a 10-acre farm in Illinois, was established in 2015. The landowner currently lives on the property and runs a small livestock business with sheep for fiber, as well as broiler chickens, laying hens, and turkeys.
Midwest Agroforestry Solutions
The Silverwood Park Demonstration Farm, designed and managed in partnership between the Savanna Institute, Friends of Silverwood Park and a local organic row crop farmer, sits on farmland donated to Dane County with explicit instructions that it would remain actively farmed and provide a space for agricultural education. In spring 2019, an 18-acre alley cropping and windbreak demonstration area was planted into a field currently leased to an organic row crop farmer. The farmer will continue to farm row crops on his regular rotations in the tree alleys.
Silverwood Park Demonstration Farm