Main Street Project has been profiled in a recent issue of Sustainability Journal. The article, “Multi-Party Agroforestry: Emergent Approaches to Trees and Tenure on Farms in the Midwest USA,” examines land tenure on farms dedicated to agroforestry.
“The purchase, lease, and management of the [Main Street Project Research Farm] is a unique and community-informed partnership among the original landowners, investors, and the non-profit,” according to the article’s authors.
Indeed, Main Street Project’s 100-acre Research Farm has an innovative ownership structure. The farm, near Northfield, was purchased from conventional farmers Craig and Linda Wasner. Main Street Project purchased 40 acres, the most a non-profit organization can own in the state of Minnesota. Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, a certified B Corporation that focuses on organic farmland, provided the mortgage financing for the purchase. Main Street Project received generous terms because Chief Operating Officer Julie Ristau helped sell Soil Restoration Notes, a debt vehicle offered by Iroquois Valley. (See iroquoisvalley.com for more information on this innovative company.)
Tom Loretto and his late wife, Najwa Bukhari, purchased the other 60 additional acres from the Wasners, who retained ownership of their home on the farm, barn and wetland. Tom and the Wasners are full partners in the Research Farm, with all helping make decisions about the land.
The farm is managed by an LLC. The LLC holds a 21-year lease with each of the landowners.
The article’s authors are Keefe O. Keeley, Kevin J. Wolz, Kaitie I. Adams, Jeannine H. Richards, Erin Hannum, Severine von Tscharner Fleming and Stephen J. Ventura. The article is available open source at: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/sustainability/special_issues/agroforestry_syst