In early 2021, Equity Trust signed a ground lease with Janette and Marc Presha of Rooted Family Farm for a 70- acre farm property in Orange County, New York that Equity Trust purchased and protected in 2018 as part of our Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program. Since then, the Preshas have been establishing themselves on the property while continuing to deliver diverse greens, other high quality specialty produce, eggs, and flowers twice a week to the Manhattan Greenmarket they serve.
Marc and Janette, together with Janette’s parents and two uncles, Blanca, Hector, Lucio, and Canuto Gonzalez, founded Rooted Family Farm in 2020. Although the business is a startup, the family is not new to farming. The elder Gonzalezes have been farming in the region for decades, and Janette grew up in that farming environment. They created Rooted Family Farm to shift from being farm employees to owning and operating their own farm business, with the expectation of being one of the successor farm businesses on the farm where they had been employed. When plans at that farm changed, they needed to quickly find a new home.
As it happened, Equity Trust was in need of a new lessee for the same reason. Equity Trust had acquired our farm property in partnership with Orange County Land Trust (OCLT), Scenic Hudson, and a neighboring farmer, to prevent it being sold for industrial development. At that time, we granted OCLT an agricultural easement on the property, and the neighbor farmer agreed to lease and manage the land. However, when his plans changed, Equity Trust needed to make new arrangements to keep our land in production, and we were happy to welcome Rooted Family Farm to the property.
In addition to continuing to grow for their year-round market, the Presha and Gonzalez families have been hard at work upgrading infrastructure, building greenhouses, and rehabilitating the property, which had not been well maintained prior to Equity Trust’s acquisition. They have many exciting plans and we look forward to their long and successful tenure on the land.