Carolina Farm Trust, a local nonprofit that helps farmers access land, equipment and marketing resources, has secured a 10-year lease on an 11-acre parcel of land being revitalized into a new working farm opening spring 2020.
The property is located in Fairview, NC about 25 miles east of Charlotte and CFT has had it for about a year. The land owner reached out to the organization with a desire to see the farm utilized in a positive way upon retiring.
CFT is leasing the property for the tax value and has first right of refusal to purchase it if and when the owner decides to sell, a move founder and executive director Zack Wyatt plans to execute.
“The biggest thing that little parcel can do is give a visual example for the Charlotte public of what it means to be sustainable,” he says.
CFT is subleasing the land to three independent organizations — Nebedaye Farms, Serendipity Flowers, and Crown Town Compost — creating a sort of co-working model for the collaborative farm.
The goal is to help create a circular economy with each producer supporting the others.
Crown Town’s compost made from Mecklenburg County food waste will help grow Serendipity’s flowers that support the bee population that pollinates Nebedaye’s produce that’s available for public sale and could return full circle as compost.
“The average person doesn’t know what [sustainable] means,” says Wyatt. “I think this can be a very good living example of this revolving circular economy and how to do it.”
The farm will have public-facing activities, including pick-your-own flower fields and a farm stand where you can purchase Nebedaye’s produce and Serendipity’s pre-made bouquets. Wyatt says he also anticipates quarterly and annual events on the land.
For its part, CFT functions as a facilitator that gets farmers onto the land and then gets out of the way. “As soon as we have a farm manager, we’re stepping back,” says Wyatt. “We’re not there to tell them what to do. As long as our ideologies are the same, that’s about it. Go to town.”