April 26, 2022 – Roanoke, Virginia – The Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons (AC) is announcing its first land acquisition project. The Southwest VA AC needs to raise $251,329 through a fundraising campaign to fully fund this $426,250 project and acquire the 3.5-acre Lick Run Farm in Roanoke, Virginia. The Southwest VA AC is a collaboration between Agrarian Trust, Garden Variety Harvests, and the New River Land Trust to support urban food production and habitat diversity, and to counter high rates of food insecurity.
Once Lick Run Farm is acquired, the Southwest Virginia AC will convey an equitable 99-year lease to Garden Variety Harvests, which is led by a Black farmer, to use the land for chemical-free food production agriculture. The farm business will immediately implement an extensive work plan that creates a land- and food-based community center with an on-site produce stand within walking distance of many residential homes which are currently located within a food desert.
Cameron Terry, the founder and operator of Garden Variety Harvests, has been feeding his community on borrowed and leased urban backyards throughout Roanoke since 2017. Terry currently supplies weekly farmers’ markets and restaurants with organically grown fruits, vegetables, and flowers without a centralized farm location, and without access to as much land as he is capable of managing using regenerative agriculture methods. The full 3.5 acres available on Lick Run Farm will allow Terry to expand Garden Variety Harvest’s production by at least 300 percent, increasing access to locally produced fresh foods within a region that faces high rates of food insecurity.
The Agrarian Commons model addresses two of the primary obstacles for contemporary farmers: the high cost of land and high debt burden of modern agriculture. With 400 million acres of farmland currently changing hands, now is the time for transformation in how land is owned, accessed, valued, and tended.
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