Farmer Nic Koontz of Native Hill Farm in Fort Collins, Colorado is going to be able to have a long-term lease – likely 20 or 30 years – as a result of a land cooperative model. Poudre Valley Community Farms (PVCF) is a land coop in Colorado. They’re seeking 150 households, restaurants, and others to buy a PVCF coop membership (cost: $2,500). PVCF will take that money, buy the land, and lease it to Koontz, who will then have the long-term security he needs to make investments in it. In return, coop members have preferred and guaranteed access to the food grown there, a patronage dividend, and pride in owning the land. The land will be held as a community, food-producing asset to be transferred to the next tenant and steward when Nic Koontz retires.
The organization Slow Money helped catalyze interest from prospective members. Once initial donations were made, the ownership pledges began to flow in quickly. PVCF raised 44% of their goal in three weeks, and as of the publication of this post they had exceeded their fundraising goal of $50,000, raising over $56,000. The group is scheduled to purchase the property in the spring of 2016 using a combination of membership dues, investments, and donations. They’re also looking to scale this model and spread it nationwide. Read more at: www.farmland.coop