West Haven Farm - American Farmland Trust

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November 1, 2023

West Haven Farm

Carlos Aguilera and Lorena Mendoza purchased a 10+ acre farm that is Certified Organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC, and is located on a beautiful hill two miles from downtown Ithaca, NY. The land is protected by a permanent conservation easement so they can continue producing food indefinitely without pressure from development (through the Finger Lakes Land Trust).

New York farm grant awardeeCarlos and Lorena applied for a New York farm grant to address this issue for future crops through the Brighter Future Fund from American Farmland Trust with generous support from Tillamook Dairy and other partners. “It was very exciting to find out that we were eligible for funding,” Carlos said. “It’s very important for programs like Brighter Futures to support small farms, because many small farms go out of business – not because they’re lacking passion or hard work – but because producing anything in our society in a small amount is not cost-effective. This funding helps small producers have a better chance to survive.”

This fall, Carlos is constructing a walk-in cooler for his farm with funding support from the Brighter Future Fund. Cold storage for crops through winter will help support their staff and family with income while ensuring access to healthy food for their CSA customers. Carlos looks forward to continuing to connect with his community, to know the people who consume food from the farm by name, and to see his kids out in the field harvesting strawberries and experiencing a childhood that calls back to his own upbringing in Mexico.

About American Farmland Trust (AFT)’s Brighter Future Fund:

AFT’s Brighter Future Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 per project to help farmers nationwide improve farm viability, access, transfer or permanently protect farmland, or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. In 2022, the fund accepted applications from farmers who identify as BIPOC, Veterans, LGBTQIA+ and beginning farmers who had limited access to financial resources in the past. Since 2020, AFT with the support of Tillamook and others has provided approximately $2.5 million in grants directly to more than 2,000 farmers across the nation. Learn more here.