NEFA 1, LLC created the Agricultural Center model in 2013 to keep working farms in sustainable production to support the next generation of farmers, bolster local food access, and create resilient ecological communities. The model has been adapted from the community land trust model and best practices of community economic development and applied to the farmland transfer and succession crisis.
NEFA 1 initiates farm projects in collaboration with the member-investors who form an owning LLC. Each Center builds strong connections between the local community, farmer-lessees and the farmland. Our model for preserving and developing farmland expresses our dedication to farm access across a broad, diverse social base.
What is an Agricultural Center?
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, slocal 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, 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 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.