An Agricultural Center is a place where multiple, independent farming operations take place side by side, that features conserved working farmland, organic management practices, and that is created through the collaboration of farmers, social investors, local allies and NEFA.
An Agricultural Center includes the usual components of a farm: the farmers, the livestock and/or crops, agricultural land (including pastures, tillable land and woodland) and farm infrastructure (including farmhouses, barns and greenhouses).
It has multiple operations that are independent from each other but that are mission-aligned and collaborate with each other to a certain extent. These operations can be for-profit and nonprofit. Nonprofit activities may include commercial kitchens, a tea room, artist residencies, campsites, etc. Nonprofit organizations include educational centers.
The key stakeholders of an Agricultural Center are the farmers that benefit from long-term leases, the social investors, or “members,” that make the creation of these centers financially possible, NEFA as community developer and manager, and local conservation and educational organizations as partners partners.
The purpose of Agricultural Centers is to enable a relationship between new farmers, social investors and local organizations that benefits the communities where these projects take place, through the preservation of rural livelihoods, the conservation of working farms and the creation of new spaces for the development of profit and nonprofit activities.