American Farmland Trust and Upstate Curious Partner to Launch New York Farmland Access Fund to Bridge Affordability Gap for Diverse New Generation of Farmers
Upstate Curious pledges to raise $1 million to support equitable farmland tenure and adoption of regenerative farming practices in the Hudson Valley
Albany, NY – Nearly two million acres of farmland in New York are at risk of being lost as ownership changes hands in the coming years. Meanwhile, a new generation of farmers struggle to afford farmland. Upstate Curious, the parent company of the top Hudson Valley/Catskills real estate team and creator of a community app, have pledged to help raise $1,000,000 to support farmers in the Hudson Valley gain first-time access to farmland through American Farmland Trust’s newly launched New York Farmland Access Fund.
The New York Farmland Access Fund will facilitate projects across the state to purchase, permanently protect, and transition farmland with affordable access to a diverse new generation of farmers, while promoting widespread adoption of regenerative farming practices. The first project will take place in New York’s Hudson Valley. Spearheaded with early support from two visionary lead donors, Andrea and Guillaume Cuvelier, and buoyed by several major gifts from generous individuals, a $1,000,000 commitment from Upstate Curious has elevated the Farmland Access Fund to its initial $2.5 million goal needed to launch the project.
“Farmland is the foundation for a healthy future for all of us,” says Linda Garrett, AFT’s New York regional director. “Our work with farmers has shown us that it’s challenging to both get into farming and to get out of farming, since the land is often the retirement fund for the elder generation. The New York Farmland Access Fund is meant to ease the burden on each – and ultimately, to keep farmers on the land for generations to come. We’re extremely grateful for our partnership with Upstate Curious catapulting this project forward at a critical moment for the future of farming in New York.”
“After purchasing a former dairy farm in Accord myself last year, I participated in a workshop series with AFT and Glynwood for ‘non-operating landowners’,” says Megan Brenn-White, founder of Upstate Curious. “I gained a new appreciation of the challenges farmers face in our area – and the multitude of risks we face as a society if we ignore the needs of the land or the people involved in producing our food. I saw that while leasing land is an important option, especially for new farms, it has serious drawbacks. When I heard about this new initiative, I was super excited to see how we could contribute. Our whole team is behind this effort, which will include us making donations for each transaction of the real estate team, as well as helping to raise awareness and funds for the initiative. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with AFT on this!”
Overcoming land access obstacles is a crucial need for aspiring farmers; studies repeatedly show that land access is the number one barrier beginning farmers face. American Farmland Trust has worked in this space for the past decade in New York. AFT leads the Farmland for a New Generation New York program, featuring a farmland finder website where farmers can create a free profile to search for land across the state, and access resources and the support of a statewide network of Regional Navigators that work one-on-one with farmers and landowners.
One pathway to land access for new and beginning farmers is leasing farmland from non-farming landowners, which can work in short-term arrangements, and when careful thought is given to creating equitable and secure tenure for farmers. However, many farmers seek the longevity of land ownership, individually and collectively. The Farmland Access Fund will help farmers purchase land at an affordable price who otherwise might not have a pathway to permanent and secure farmland access.
A time of land transition also offers farmers the opportunity to transform the practices on that land to be more climate-friendly, protecting water quality and improving soil health, if they are matched with the tools and resources needed to adopt. Additionally, New York State provides robust public funding to support regenerative agricultural practices – making now an important time to act.
With initial funding in place, AFT is primed to make a big impact by:
- Helping to provide farmland access to 5-10 new farm operations in New York, and supporting historically underserved communities, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and women farmers.
- Protecting up to 1,000 acres of farmland in New York state.
- Committing to not only securing the land, but supporting farmers in bringing a bounty of regenerative agricultural practices to life.
To learn more about the Farmland Access Fund and how to contribute to the success and growth of the project, contact Karisa Centanni, Senior Philanthropy Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit upstatecurious.com/farmland to make your contribution and support the Fund.
ABOUT UPSTATE CURIOUS:
Upstate Curious is the parent company of the top Hudson Valley and Catskills real estate team and creator of a community app. Founded in 2019 by Megan Brenn-White, the Upstate Curious Team is a close-knit collective of agents driven by a love of real estate, design, and the incredible beauty and heritage of this special region. The top real estate team in the Hudson Valley and Catskills, our team works with roughly 200 buyers and sellers each year across 10 counties north of NYC. Drawing on our founder’s 20+ years in digital marketing, we combine the art and science of real estate to make the home selling or buying process smart, fun, and focused on our client’s needs. Fiercely local and dedicated to supporting small businesses while building bridges between newcomers and long-time upstaters, we created a community app that has over 6,000 members. We take great pride in our work–and our impact on our communities–and can’t wait to help you find your place to belong.
ABOUT AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST:
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.
For additional information about AFT please contact:
Olivia Fuller, American Farmland Trust
(518) 581-0078, email@example.com
For additional information about Upstate Curious please contact:
Tania Cavallo, The Lifestyle Co.
(914) 484-6409, firstname.lastname@example.org