During the 1990s, Jean-Paul Courtens developed a large CSA farm on rented land in New York’s Hudson Valley. In 1999, altered circumstances caused him to look for a new, permanent home for Roxbury Farm, but despite the success of the farm, he was not in a position to purchase land with conventional financing, due to the high price of property in that region.
Roxbury did eventually find a new home, however, on 150 acres of land, with a farmhouse and barn, through an unconventional collaborative effort to acquire shared ownership in the new farm. Equity Trust purchased the property for a market price. The development value of the land was removed through conservation easements acquired by Open Space Institute (OSI). Even after the development rights were removed, the estate value of the property remained far greater than its agricultural land value, so the “campaign for Roxbury Farm” was launched by CSA members and Equity Trust. This fundraising effort succeeded in raising money to cover this higher market value, allowing Equity Trust to sell the house and other improvements to the farmers, Jean-Paul Courtens and Jody Bolluyt, at agricultural value, and lease the land to them through an affordable 99-year ground lease.
The Roxbury Farm CSA currently supplies food to over 1200 families from Albany to New York City. In addition to the 150 acres owned with Equity Trust, the farmers have acquired an additional 100 acres that is also protected by an OSI conservation easement.
Read more in this New York Times article from July 2000.