Forever Farm Program

Starting a new farm comes with many challenges, start-up costs are high, and access to land can often be a deal-breaker for those who do not yet qualify for a mortgage. Our latest food security and land conservation initiative supports Ontario’s organic farmers. By helping farmers access farmland, we hope to support the creation of successful, sustainable, organic farming businesses while protecting farmland in Ontario.

From 2009-2015, Orland Conservation operated Backyard Bounty, Ontario’s premier urban farming social enterprise in Guelph. Backyard Bounty was an urban agriculture CSA program to convert unproductive private land into organic gardens in partnership with landowners and businesses in the community. Achievements include starting organic produce markets at the Trillium Waldorf and Guelph Montessori schools, and donating organic produce to the Guelph Food Bank. The aim of the initiative was to increase awareness about sustainable urban gardening and organic food production while providing nutritious food to the community. In 2016, Orland Conservation concluded Backyard Bounty to focus on the Forever Farm Program in order to provide direct farmland acquisition support to new organic farmers while ensuring long-term protection of Ontario’s farmland.

By helping farmers access farmland, we hope to support the creation of successful, sustainable, organic farming businesses while protecting farmland in Ontario.

Goals

  1. Help organic farmers access farmland through a rent-to-own model
  2. Conserve farmland in perpetuity with farmland conservation easement agreements

Process

  • Eligible farmers are paired with a local qualified realtor in their preferred geographic farming area, or we can assist with pursuit of a private sale
  • Once the farmer selects a property, we assist by negotiating the purchase with the seller
  • Orland Conservation holds title to the property and the farmer enters into a Land Lease agreement with an Option to Purchase the property in the future

Rent-to-Own Farm Model

The Forever Farm Program provides a supportive solution for farmers with limited credit history, who do not currently qualify for a typical mortgage. A rent-to-own arrangement is simply a Land Lease combined with an exclusive Option to Purchase the property in the future.

The farmer would enter into a Land Lease agreement based on market value rent for the property. The Option to Purchase gives the farmer the option, but not the obligation, to buy the property at a future date.

Orland Conservation would hold property title until the farmer is eligible for a mortgage. Instead of a fixed lease expiration date, the agreement will outline flexible rollover dates. The future purchase price for the farmer would be determined by establishing an average annual appreciation rate for farm properties in that geographic area. This mutually agreed upon rate is established at the time of the agreement and would be honoured even if property values are higher in the future.

Institutional lenders typically require a minimum of 30% down. To qualify for this program, the farmer is required to provide a deposit of only 15% of the land purchase price. This deposit is 100% credited towards the farmer’s future purchase of the property.

Over the Land Lease term, the farmer would pay monthly market rent and a monthly Lease Option fee. The Lease Option fee is credited, in addition to the farmer’s initial down payment, to the property purchase if the farmer wishes to exercise their Option to Purchase in the future.

Orland Conservation can also provide services to help pair the farmer with a mortgage broker. The Lease Option fee will be negotiated based on the farmer’s budget and business plan. Flexibility may be provided to allow for smaller payments in non-harvest times and higher payments during harvest season.

Requirements

The farmer would be responsible for the following property costs:

  • Utilities
  • Tenant insurance
  • Small to medium repairs

Orland Conservation would be responsible for the following property costs:

  • Major house or barn repairs with a $1,000 deductible
  • Fire insurance for house or barn
  • Property taxes

Eligibility

  • Plant-based organic growers
  • Approved farm business plan
  • Minimum deposit of 15% of the purchase price
  • Agree to have a permanent farmland conservation easement registered on title

How to Participate

Contact us to start growing:

Robert Orland
President, Orland Conservation
Founder, Backyard Bounty
robert.orland@orlandconservation.ca
519 829 2281

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Contact

Robert Orland
President
Orland Conservation
123 Grove Street, Guelph
Ontario, CANADA N1E 2W8
Phone 519 829 2281
robert.orland@orlandconservation.ca