Available: Leased Land at Grow Food Northampton

Oct 25 2021

Grow Food Northampton has between .25-1.5 acres of farmland available for lease at our Community Farm. The previous leaseholder farmer has invested considerably in infrastructure and soil fertility, making this an especially valuable opportunity for someone interested in starting or nurturing a farm business in a supportive community with many elements already in place.

Grow Food Northampton (GFN) owns and stewards 121 acres of land in Florence, MA. It is home to multiple farms with leases of terms ranging from 1 to 99 years; a 320-plot community garden; food access and education programming; and a diverse ecosystem on the banks of the Mill River. We are seeking new farmers to join our community.

Acreage available: Flexible, between ¼ and 1.5 acres. The outgoing lessee has farmed mixed-vegetables using no-till practices on 0.75 acres for the past two seasons.

On-farm infrastructure provided: Frost-free water and 120v electricity. Metered water and electric usage will be paid by the lessee. In addition to water and electricity, the following resources are available for shared use with other
farmers on the GFN site, for a fee:
• Shared cooler space
• Shared space in a small barn
• Use of a 33 horse-power John Deere tractor with bucket and flail mower
• Use of BCS 853 walk-behind tractor with rear-tine tiller and power harrow attachment
• Composting outhouse (no fee)

The outgoing lessee is offering the following equipment for purchase:
• Various irrigation systems designed for small-scale cultivation
• 12’ x 40’ Hoop House
• 7’ x 10’ Shed
• Various other hand tools and supplies
Equipment purchase will be negotiated and made directly with the outgoing lessee. Please inquire about the full list of available items.

Lease fee: the maximum per-acre fee for the land lease is $400 per year. A sliding scale fee is offered to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous or other person of color. Those belonging to other historically disadvantaged groups and/or with individual or structural obstacles in accessing affordable land for farming may be considered for the sliding scale on a case-by-case basis.

Stewardship Principles, Goals, and Requirements
GFN lessees are independent and autonomous, but we ask that they agree with and support GFN’s stewardship principles and goals, and adhere to all requirements.

Principles
Grow Food Northampton is committed to the protection and enhancement of the resources in our care,
the biodiversity of our natural and cultural systems, and the capacity of our organization to model and
promote climate resilient practices. We acknowledge, honor, and value the many layers of cultural,
ecological, and political past and present on this landscape.

Goals
In order to honor the above principles, our stewardship goals are to:
1. Conserve and protect water resources, and mitigate damage from flooding
2. Conserve and enhance soil health
3. Foster healthy and diverse plants and animals
4. Demonstrate and contribute to climate resilience
5. Protect and maintain the site’s natural and built features

Requirements and prohibitions
1. Farmers will be asked to create an annual management plan, either written or in conversation with our staff, that describes farming practices and how such practices address and advance the above goals.
2. The use of GMO seeds is prohibited. Any synthetic fertilizer, herbicide, or pesticide not on OMRI-approved lists is also prohibited.
3. Farmers must carry general liability insurance.

To apply:
Please write a description of the farm operation you propose for this leased land. If writing in English or using email is not your preferred way to communicate, please contact us to discuss other options.

Applications should include:
• the types of crops you will grow;
• the market or use that they will be grown for;
• the size lease you are interested in;
• your general farming approach and the farming practices you plan to use;
• your farming experience, and;
• if you are from a historically disadvantaged group and/or how you may have experienced individual or structural obstacles in accessing affordable land for farming.

Please submit applications via email by December 1st, 2021. You are welcome to visit and observe the land before you apply.

To submit an application or to ask a question, contact Michael Skillicorn at Grow Food Northampton: (413) 320-4799 ext. 109

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