Want to be involved in preserving precious farmland? Welcome to Yggdrasil Land Foundation!- A new form of land trust aimed to catalyze the viability
of biodynamic, organic, and sustainable farming for food security and the
health of communities through land access, preservation, and renewal.
Yggdrasil was incorporated in 2000, as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization,
to provide preservation and access opportunities for individuals and
communities that value and integrate sustainable agricultural practices.
Please read on to learn more about our unique organizational design and
supported organizations, methods for preservation, access and renewal, and
how you can take constructive planning and giving steps to support the need
for farmland preservation. Enjoy your visit and let us know how we can be of
Yggdrasil was founded with the vision of securing land for use as biodynamic and organic farms. Yggdrasil was brought into being by two gifts of land, one in California and one in Wisconsin. Since that time, Yggdrasil has received an additional property in Wisconsin and one in New Hampshire, which was purchased with gifts raised by the community. The properties, totaling over 340 acres, are managed as organic and biodynamic farms under the diligent care of long-term farmers. Go to Yggdrasil’s Protected Farms for detailed property and farmer/lessee information.
Yggdrasil has been an all volunteer organization since its inception and with recently added staff it is building its organizational capacity to take on future projects and increase its effectiveness.
Yggdrasil is chartered to receive land and hold conservation easements to preserve agricultural lands in perpetuity. Yggdrasil represents a new form of land preservation, the result of three organizations working in association to advance the viability of biodynamic, organic, and sustainable, farming and promote the renewal of the Earth as a foundation of community.
Yggdrasil was incorporated as a ‘supporting organization’ to support the work of three distinct non-profit organizations; RSF Social Finance (RSF)-San Francisco, CA, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association (BDA)- Junction City, OR and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI)- East Troy, WI. Yggdrasil’s national board of trustees consists of appointees of these non-profit organizations along with some members-at-large. RSF brings social and environmental financial management expertise, manages the financial endowment and administrative aspects. BFGA provides educational expertise to farmers and gardeners and can provide assistance to Yggdrasil in locating farmers and other resources to help manage its lands. MFAI provides solid research, policy work and trainings for the farming community and can provide assistance to Yggdrasil in designing farm and natural resource management plans.
Need for Farmland Preservation
The rate of conversion of prime agricultural land from the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s increased by 51%, and as of 2007 our nation is losing 1.2 million acres every year. Conversion of our most fertile and productive soils is being lost at the fastest rate to residential and commercial development. And urban-fringe farming accounts for 86% of our fruits and vegetables, and 63% of our dairy products.
Rapid farmland conversion to development, since the 1980’s, plays a key role in our steep agricultural challenges. However, other current trends are adding to the severity of the issue. The average age of farmers is 58 years old; land values have continued to rise since the 1960’s and have escalated since late 1999 to a level at which beginning farmers are unable to purchase affordable farms; the number of young people interesting in farming as a vocation is dwindling, and over 50% of US farms are owned by non-farmers. The industrial, chemical model of agriculture that arose in the 1950’s has displaced small family farms, degraded our natural resources, and the overall health of environment. These national challenges transcend globally in similar fashions and we now face even greater challenges that stem from GMO seed production and the concept of land grabbing for outsourced food production by many nations.
While the movement to support organic, locally grown, and sustainable food systems is growing, it is still only a small part of our national agricultural industry. Planning for, investing in, and taking active steps to preserve farmland that integrates biodynamic and organic methods are critically needed safeguards that landowner’s can take to insure farm viability and access now and for future generations. The formation of Yggdrasil is timely in regard to today’s trends. Yggdrasil’s success as a land foundation in providing innovative means for healthy stewardship of the land, making land available to farmers and communities, and making itself known to potential donors, is essential for the future of agriculture and the earth.
Read the Biodynamic Association article: Seeking Solutions to Preserve Your Cherished Farms