FAIRFIELD, Iowa — The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust has announced the permanent protection of the first sustainable table food farm in Jefferson County with the gift of a 35-acre property, the Anderson Prairie Farm.
SILT, which is based in West Branch, is a statewide land trust founded in 2015 that protects 14 food farms across Iowa for a total of more than 1,100 acres. This year, the organization launched its Circle Our Cities campaign to surround 10 Iowa cities with 10 permanent food farms in 10 years.
In addition to the land and a house on the property, Sara and Jim Anderson plan to build and donate a second dwelling and a year-round greenhouse soon. Based on surrounding home and land values, this property is already worth nearly $250,000, yet will remain affordable for future farmers through SILT protection.
“The Andersons will continue to live and work here and enjoy a partnership that includes farmer referrals, advertising and even throwing parties on their farm,” said SILT president Stuart Valentine. “Yet when Sara and Jim are done using this land, SILT will make the farm and buildings available to natural table food farmers by offering a long-term, affordable lease that allows them to gain equity as well. It’s an innovative Iowa model SILT developed based on experience from around the country.”
Valentine added, “Landowners like Sara and Jim Anderson are an inspiration. It’s gifts like these that make me proud to lead SILT. I hope landowners and all area residents will be inspired to support this work as well.”
— Sustainable Iowa Land Trust
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