FAQS

faq

OVERVIEW

GOOD HUMUS PRODUCE

IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL FARMS

What is One Farm at a Time?
One Farm at a Time is a collaborative project that gives Co-op shoppers and everyone who enjoys fresh local produce the opportunity to invest in the future of the farms that provide our food.

What is the Goal of this Program?
To raise funds and awareness needed to help ensure the sustainability of our local family farms for future generations, and to connect people who enjoy fresh local foods with the farms that provide it.

The intention of One Farm at a Time is to preserve and protect local farms, and to encourage young farmers by making farming a viable option in California. Our first project is to purchase an easement to protect Good Humus Produce in Capay Valley. When that project is complete, we will move on to preserve the next farm, based on its unique set of circumstances.

Why do farms need preserving?
Farmland is being developed at a rate of over 1 million acres per year. Young people who want to get into agriculture can’t afford to buy land in California, and older farmers are getting closer to retirement with no one to pass the farms on to.

How much money is One Farm at a Time trying to raise?
Our first project is to establish a farm preservation easement for Good Humus Produce in Capay Valley. For that we need about $400,000. Then we will move on to the next farm so that there is a network of secure farms providing food for our community for generations to come. So in that sense, the fundraising is unlimited.

How do I donate to One Farm at a Time?
You can donate at the registers at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op or the Davis Food Co-op. You can also donate online at www.community.coop/onefarmatatime. All donations are tax-deductable.

Who are the partners involved in the program?
The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, the Davis Food Co-op, Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, Good Humus Produce, Yolo Land Trust, Tuleyome, and California FarmLink are the collaborative partners. Funding partners include Equal Exchange, Veritable Vegetable, Organic Valley, Lundberg Family Farms, and Straus Family Creamery. Thousands of community partners have contributed as well.

How does this easement work?
This easement is different than other “conservation” easements whose sole purpose is to stop development. In this easement, an appraiser will determine both the agricultural and development values of the farm. E.g. the ag value may be $150,000, and the development value may be $250,000. A land trust purchases an easement from the farmer for the amount of the development value. The easement language states that the farm cannot be developed for non-agricultural purposes and that is must be farmed using sustainable methods, the farmer(s) need(s) to live on the farm, and the farmer(s) need(s) to earn at least 50% of their income from the farm. The original farmer(s) who sell the easement to the land trust receive(s) the value of the easement as their “retirement” fund. The land trust holds and monitors the easement in perpetuity to assure that subsequent farmers honor its restrictions. When the farm is then sold it is sold for the remaining $150,000 ag value, making it affordable for the next farmer(s). By permanently removing the development value of the farm, the farm becomes permanently affordable at its ag value to all future farmers. One Farm at a Time will not have any further involvement with the easement and can move onto trying to preserve another farm.

How much money has been raised so far?
Approximately $175,000

Where does the money sit until there is enough to purchase the first easement?
Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation is the fiscal agent of One Farm at a Time. Twin Pines is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works with Co-ops across the country.

How much do I need to give to make a difference?
Part of the goal of One Farm at a Time is to inspire the community to work together — if we all give a little, together we can make a big difference. The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op and the Davis Co-op combined have about 40,000 customers. If each customer were to give $10 every year, we think we could make significant strides in preserving local farms — maybe a farm a year.

OVERVIEW

Who are the partners involved in the program?
The Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, the Davis Food Co-op, Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation, Good Humus Produce, Yolo Land Trust, Tuleyome, and California FarmLink are the collaborative partners. Funding partners include Equal Exchange, Veritable Vegetable, Organic Valley, Lundberg Family Farms, and Straus Family Creamery. Thousands of community partners have contributed as well.

How does this easement work?
This easement is different than other “conservation” easements whose sole purpose is to stop development. In this easement, an appraiser will determine both the agricultural and development values of the farm. E.g. the ag value may be $150,000, and the development value may be $250,000. A land trust purchases an easement from the farmer for the amount of the development value. The easement language states that the farm cannot be developed for non-agricultural purposes and that is must be farmed using sustainable methods, the farmer(s) need(s) to live on the farm, and the farmer(s) need(s) to earn at least 50% of their income from the farm. The original farmer(s) who sell the easement to the land trust receive(s) the value of the easement as their “retirement” fund. The land trust holds and monitors the easement in perpetuity to assure that subsequent farmers honor its restrictions. When the farm is then sold it is sold for the remaining $150,000 ag value, making it affordable for the next farmer(s). By permanently removing the development value of the farm, the farm becomes permanently affordable at its ag value to all future farmers. One Farm at a Time will not have any further involvement with the easement and can move onto trying to preserve another farm.

How much money has been raised so far?
Approximately $175,000

Where does the money sit until there is enough to purchase the first easement?
Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation is the fiscal agent of One Farm at a Time. Twin Pines is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works with Co-ops across the country.


GOOD HUMUS PRODUCE

Why is Good Humus the first farm selected to participate in this program?
Good Humus was already engaged in the process of writing their easement and seeking donations for the public purchase of the easement when the Davis and Sacramento Co-ops, responding to the results of a survey of their members, decided to make the preservation of the small farms in their regions a priority. Good Humus had long associations with both Co-ops, providing produce to both stores for over 20 years. The Good Humus easement model, as well as the efforts to obtain funds from the community, became the inspiration for the One Farm at a Time program.

Who owns Good Humus?
Jeff and Annie Main

What is the Main’s motivation for wanting to participate in One Farm at a Time?
The Mains dedicated their lives to creating a working family farm that serves the people of their region. They wish to preserve the work that they have done, so that the next generation will not have to start over and the farm will be affordable for the next farmer.

What did the owners of Good Humus pay for the land when they bought it?
$60,000 for 20 acres in 1993

How is the agricultural value of the land determined?
The agricultural value is determined by one of several possible appraisal methods.

At this time what is the approximate agricultural value of Good Humus?

An appraisal by a licensed appraiser familiar with experience in the area has not yet been done. The estimate we have been working with is between $150,000 and $200,000.

How is the development value of the land determined?
Development value can generally be determined by appraisal of land both at its full market value and at its value with the development rights removed, the difference being the agricultural value.

At this time what is the approximate development value of Good Humus?
Without a legal appraisal, it is impossible to be sure, but perhaps $200,000 based on the ability to split the land into two parcels.

Are the Main’s going to receive the money that equates to the agricultural value or the development value of the land should the deal go forward?
Should the sale of the easement go forward, the Mains will be selling an easement restricting their rights as owners and placing affirmative performance requirements for ownership. The value of the easement will be by appraisal of both the market value of the parcel and the value of the parcel as restricted by the easement, and finding the difference. The monetary compensation they receive, and how and when they receive it, will be determined at the time of sale.

Approximately how much cash are they leaving on the table by participating in the “One Farm at a Time” project?
Again, this is impossible to know without the benefit of appraisal and Terms of Sale. What they are giving up is the right to compensation for any future increases in value of the property, agricultural value increases excepted, and the right to compensation for the value of the difference between the appraised agricultural value and the appraised value as restricted by the easement.

When did this program start?
The Mains began writing the easement with the help of Equity Community Trust in 2001. They began fundraising in about 2003. Initial meetings for One Farm at a Time began in 2009; the program was first presented to the community in Spring 2010.


IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL FARMS

How many local farms are there in our area?
In Yolo County there are 800 local farms, 70 to 80 direct marketers and about 100 organic producers, handlers and processors. As of 2009 $462 million in gross agricultural value was produced in Yolo County.

How much farmland in our area has been lost in recent years?
From 1988 to 1998, 41,600 acres of agricultural and “other” acres has been converted to non-ag use in the six-county Sacramento region.

From 1988 to 2005, over 5% of the total farmland acres (approximately 200,000 acres) were lost to urban and rural development in the six-county Sacramento region.

Why is saving these farms important, and what is the future without them?
“Agriculture has been at the heart of Yolo County’s identity, character, economy and way of life since Yolo County’s founding in 1850. The defining characteristic of Yolo County is its agriculture and open spaces. Though agriculture is a business, the fields, orchards, and rangeland that comprise most of our agricultural land base are generally open and pastoral, and create valued views and vistas. Yolo County’s historic commitment to honor its “roots” by preserving agriculture has produced an enviable quality of life and significant open space preservation.

“Property and business activity provide a significant portion of the tax base in Yolo County. The tax revenues generated by the agricultural industry are generally lower than would be created by other uses on the same land, however, the cost to provide government services to farms is also lower. We are lucky in Yolo that zoning has helped keep farmland undeveloped. I hope it will stay that way into the future.”
~ Michele Clark, Yolo Land Trust

“We all need to eat and no farms means no food! The Yolo County General Plan has numerous action items that support the economic viability of local farms. Without local farms we will be solely dependant on foreign entities for our food, and that has not worked out well for us for petroleum. It’s one thing to not have fuel for your car; it is quite another when you have no food to eat. We must preserve at all costs our ability to produce food locally.”
~ John Young, Yolo County Agriculture Commissioner

How many agricultural acres are there now in Yolo County?

Ag Land = 540,591 (82%); in 2007, 463,762 were in production

In 1984 there was 569,793 acres of farmland (including grazing land) in Yolo County. In 2006, there was 540,591 acres of farmland including grazing land.

How many acres are under conservation easement with Yolo Land Trust?
Yolo Land Trust holds nearly 9,000 acres of farmland under recorded conservation easements.