For Immediate Release 10/16/2018
Great Barrington, MA – Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV), with Dirt Capital Partners and North Plain Farm, LLC, are pleased to announce their partnership in purchasing an 82 acre riverfront parcel in Great Barrington to preserve as affordable farmland in perpetuity.
Dirt Capital Partners and BAV provided financial support toward the purchase of the $1.1 million parcel by farmers Sean Stanton and Tess Diamond of North Plain Farm, LLC on September 25, 2018.
This is the first such collaborative venture with these partners taking a landmark step toward promoting farmland affordability in the Berkshires. This will be achieved through the pursuit of Agricultural Protection Restriction (APR) from the State of MA. This process to receive this funding is well underway.
This purchase is a testimony to Sean and Tess’s decade-long dream and commitment to this property. They intend to concentrate their farming operations in one corridor and scale up their sustainable pasture-based enterprises, while preserving this prime parcel of agricultural land.
“The acquisition of this property will allow us to revive this beautiful pastureland. We are incredibly grateful and excited for the future of our farm and most of all, for the opportunity to preserve this land in our community for generations to come,” said Tess. “Berkshire Agricultural Ventures and Dirt Capital Partners understood the value of this project right away and helped us see our vision through. It was a pleasure to work with this team.”
The site also includes a large barn and rental housing for community residents and future beginning farmers who will participate in a resident apprenticeship program onsite. The property is mostly cleared land with meadows, hardwood borders, woodlands, streams, a pond and a Housatonic River backwash.
For BAV, this acquisition marks a significant milestone in the organization’s support of farmland preservation and transition. According to BAV’s Executive Director, Cynthia Pansing, “Farmland affordability is a huge challenge in the Berkshires. We hope this project will serve as a model for future preservation and land management efforts. Farm viability and the health of our food system depend on it.”
This is Dirt Capital’s first project in Massachusetts. “This project will enable North Plain Farm to invest in the land, and apply regenerative agricultural practices in a way that short-term leases do not allow,” said Jacob Israelow, Dirt Capital’s Founder and Managing Director. “Protecting this farm and its frontage on the Housatonic River will keep this as a community resource in perpetuity. And BAV’s creative and flexible financing were critical to making it happen.”
Berkshire Agricultural Ventures – Cynthia Pansing, Executive Director, berkshireagventures.org
North Plain Farm – Sean Stanton and Tess Diamond, Owner Farmers, northplainfarm.com
Dirt Capital Partners – Jacob Israelow, Managing Director, dirtpartners.com