Memorial Day, while a day of remembrance honoring fallen veterans, is often associated with the start of summer. For Local Farms Fund it will be associated with the Fund’s first farm purchase. On Friday last week, Local Farms Fund closed on its first property, a 63 acre farm located in Saratoga County, NY. The farm is being leased to Jamielynn and Timothy Biello and has a working title of “Saratoga Draft Power Farm.” Following the Local Farms Fund investment model of farmer driven acquisitions, the farm property was initially found by Jamielynn and Tim and highlighted as one that suited the needs of their long-term business plans. The property, located 20 minutes from Saratoga Springs, has a beautiful 1800s colonial house, two spring fed ponds and several barns, perfect for the Biello’s farm business plan of developing a free-choice on-farm vegetable Community Support Agriculture (CSA) operation powered by draft horses. After reviewing the farm property, the Biellos and Local Farms Fund worked together to acquire the farm at an economic price from the sellers that met the needs of both the Fund and future farm tenants. Now the Biellos have a 20-year lease with purchase options rights from Local Farms Fund allowing them to focus capital on a successful business but still providing the necessary land security.
During the first couple of years the Biellos will focus on building soil fertility and infrastructure development necessary to support the CSA. The long-term farm plan includes eggs and meat, wholesale to local restaurants and grocers, as well as the potential for on-farm education and agritourism. Tim and Jamielynn will be moving to the homestead over the course of the next few days learning the ins and outs of their new home.
This purchase represents the first of several farms that Local Farms Fund intends to acquire over the next couple of years. The Fund has a very simple investment model. Find sustainable farmers looking for land access in the NY Foodshed. Buy farmland that meets the needs of the farmer’s business. Provide the farmer with a lease-to-own arrangement. The farm purchase in Saratoga County is a perfect example of the Fund’s investment strategy at work.
Local Farms Fund is extremely excited to have Jamielynn and Tim as the first farm tenants and know they will have great success with the Saratoga Draft Power Farm.
Jamielynn and Tim standing in the field closest to the house and barns. This field is approximately 10 acres. Directly behind wooded area in the photo there is another large open field of around 15 acres. In total the property is 63 acres and about 35 of those are wooded, providing a natural habitat for native wildlife.