Indian Line Farm
To preserve Indian Line Farm, the first Community Supported(CSA) Agriculture farm in North America, the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and the Schumacher Center for a New Economics collaborated with the Berkshire Highlands Program of The Nature Conservancy and farmers Elizabeth Keen and Alex Thorp. The goal was to maintain a working organic farm, protect the adjacent sensitive wetlands, and provide small-scale farmers with affordable access to land.
Working with the Schumacher Center to draft the innovative legal documents, The Nature Conservancy acquired conservation easements on the property to permanently limit future development, while the Community Land Trust acquired the title to the land and is leasing it to Elizabeth and Alex on a 99-year basis. The farmers themselves have purchased the house, barn, and other buildings, and will gain equity through any improvements made to the farm during their tenure, including improvements to the soil. The Community Land Trust retains an option to purchase the buildings and improvements back, and to resell them at their replacement cost to another farmer.
Addressing the critical connections between ecology, economy, and community, this model for whole farm preservation is protecting habitat, preserving agriculture and keeping small-scale farming viable. The participation of the two land trusts provided a way for
Berkshire residents to finance the purchase of the land.
Farm Lease Agreement
The lease agreement provides the leaseholders with ownership of all buildings and other improvements on the site. The resale restrictions ensure farmland access for future generations and support the goal of food security.
Farm Land Use Plan
Details the tillable land, buffer areas, and other uses of the land. The document reflects the combined ecological, community, farming and private homestead interests of the partnership.
Farm Land Management Plan
Developed in cooperation with the farmers, the management plan sets the requirements for crop and livestock production to ensure that the land stays in use and is farmed in accordance with organic standards.
Farm Conservation Restriction
The easement protects the ecological characteristics of the farm and adjacent wetlands.