May 4, 2014
Anne and Dennis have a certified organic diversified vegetable farm in southeastern Wisconsin. They lease two acres for now, but their farm lies within a grander scheme of a cooperative of about 20 people interested in taking part in the purchase and management of this entire 30-acre parcel of land called Wild Abundance. Some individuals in that group are farmers, including Anne and Dennis who are beginning their third season running Regenerative Roots Farm and live at the site. Other members have different reasons for getting involved–whether it is access to land management decisions, access to participating in work days and coop projects (orchard, bees), or simply access to a place that they can come to escape city life and have a greater connection with the farm than a more common CSA model may allow for. For the farmers involved, it will provide their businesses with “long term land security,” said Anne.
They decided to get involved in this land-buying project because their first season farming alone was quite isolating. Having a network of farmers to communicate with is important to them. Besides this social aspect, they did not want farm debt, and not holding the mortgage themselves relieves that cost. “We want to farm at a scale that feels right, rather than making management decisions under financial pressure,” said Anne.
The group is still in the planning phase, but has a vision of multiple enterprises that lease land from the management cooperative. Without holding the mortgage themselves, Regenerative Roots will have a greater chance at being more profitable.
Structurally, a larger LLC is being formed to own the property, and the cooperative will make up the LLC. Anne says the group is busy “writing bylaws and operating agreements so they can form these entities.” Currently a member of the cooperative owns the land, and will be selling it to the group. They hope to make the purchase by November 2014.
They have a vision to integrate their vegetable cropping systems with livestock and perennials, manifested by a group and a model that can be flexible over time.