In his search for the right piece of farmland, Ben Stowe spent a considerable amount of time “walking the grid.”
In order to help potential next-generation farmers, and non-farming landowners who are interested in leasing their land, The Piedmont Environmental Council has put together “Finding a Place to Grow: How the Next Generation is Gaining Access to Farmland”, which includes eight profiles of successful farmland lease arrangements in Virginia. The profiles focus on the different business arrangements underlying these successful leases, to demonstrate the various options that landowners and beginning farmers have to establish partnerships and prudently share risks, responsibilities and rewards. We hope you find the stories helpful and inspiring!
Download the PDF or read the stories online:
The Model for So Many Others
Eric Plaksin and Rachel Bynum are standing near a row of peak summer tomatoes in a field that, after 15 years of farming, feels very much like their own, when the landowner pulls up in his golf cart with his dog Hannah perched in the backseat.
Making the Most of His Family’s Land
For Brian Walden, his path to farming started with 250 acres of land.
Organic Farming at a Public Nature Preserve
Attila Agoston and Shawna DeWitt met while working seasonal jobs at a research center in the South Pole. They started farming because, after running fuel stations in the frigid cold for several months, the summer work on an island off the coast of Washington State sounded warmer and entailed access to better food.
A Communal Approach
In the five years since Jason “JP” Pall and Sally Walker began growing produce on a hilly, windswept plot not far from Virginia Tech, they’ve watched several of the parcels surrounding them change hands. A few have been transformed from pastures — the undulating terrain here is good for little more than grazing cattle — into new homes.
Earning a Herd, Opening a Store
Working as a chef, Mike Peterson used to drive by the green, cattle-flecked acres of Mount Vernon Farm near Sperryville on his way to the Inn at Little Washington. And when he signed up for a six-month internship at the farm — to learn more about the sustainable farming methods behind the beef — he never thought he’d end up staying.
Lessons learned at Whisper Hill Farm
Holly Hammond grew up on a you-pick vegetable farm in Arizona that her parents ran. She had no intention of following in their footsteps as farmers, hobby or otherwise, and neither did her husband, James Hammond, when they married in 2002.