Rockcastle County, KY – Iroquois Valley Farms, LLC, a food and farmland Company investing in organic and local agriculture, has purchased its first Kentucky farm. That makes Kentucky the sixth state in which the Company owns farms. Healing Ground Farm is 120 acres of pasture and tillable fields on which brothers Fred and Michael Lewis, also U.S. Veterans, are using organic practices to produce healthy foods, including pastured livestock and a diversified vegetable operation. They share Iroquois Valley Farms vision of returning the soil to a naturally healthy and productive state.
“We have two distinct things we work on,” says Mr. Michael Lewis, “sustainability and nutrition.” Healing Ground Farm will train Veterans and others, including the disabled, to be sustainable farm entrepreneurs. They do this in conjunction with Growing Warriors, a non-profit whose mission is to equip, assist and train military Veterans with the skills they need to produce high quality, organically grown produce for their families, community and country.
David Miller, Iroquois Valley Farms Co-founder/CEO stated, “Returning veterans that have served our country are now serving their local communities and are a powerful voice in this battle to protect our environment and foods. We are excited to announce the purchase of Healing Ground Farm and support the Lewis brothers and Growing Warriors in this important mission. This purchase fundamentally supports our commitment to restoring healthy farming practices.” The Lewis brothers themselves have worked across the country on behalf of farm communities, advocating scalable local economies centered on local food production. From Healing Ground Farm, they will foundationally impact future development of Kentucky’s local and organic foods infrastructure.
Supporting that infrastructure is the capstone leadership development program of the Leadership Louisville Center, The Bingham Fellows. Through the Fellows 2013 project “Building a Smarter Food Culture for Louisville”, was born the Louisville Barn Raising, designed to bring local food system stakeholders together. At their very first event last January, resident Andy Loving met Michael Lewis, Executive Director of Growing Warriors. Mr. Loving is President of Just Money Advisors and an Iroquois Valley Farms board member. He set the Iroquois Valley wheels in motion leading to the purchase.
Barn Raising participants identified increased access to land for young and beginning farmers as one key strategy to meet demand for local food. Louisville Metro Government published results of a survey of demand for local food in 2013 showing the potential for up to $600 million in annual sales of local food in Louisville. “Building on these results, it only made sense to convene stakeholders in the local food system to see how we could work together to meet that demand,” said Theresa Zawacki, manager of Louisville Metro’s Local Food Economy division of the Department of Economic Development, and also a 2013 Bingham Fellows participant.
Individuals seeking financial stability and participation in the growing business of producing local and healthy foods are able to invest in Iroquois Valley Farms. According to Mr. Miller, the investment theme is simple, “We’re offering a unique growth opportunity supported by an appreciating and renewable real asset. Focusing on soil health and local and organic foods will naturally grow revenues and enhance the long term value of these farms.”
Iroquois Valley Farms LLC is a food and farmland company making impact investments in local and organic agriculture using triple bottom line principles. Formed in 2007, Iroquois Valley Farms became the first socially responsible farmland company in the United States focused on supporting sustainable food production and the mid-size family farmer. The Company is committed to preserving farmland, facilitating organic land management practices, supporting local food markets, providing land access opportunities to family farmers and creating values-based agriculture investment opportunities. Offering a uniquely corporate and indefinitely scalable opportunity to benefit from the production of healthy and nutritious foods, the Company has purchased over 2,100 acres of farmland, all of which is certified organic or in transition to organic production. The owned farmland is leased through long-term tenancies to farmers independently operating their family farm businesses. Corporate revenues and profitability are directly connected to the growing businesses of these farmers.
Recent purchases include farms in Michigan, Maine, New York, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana – all for young farmers expanding their local and organic foods and dairy production. Twelve of the last 13 farms acquired have been purchased as part of its nationally acclaimed Young Farmer Land Access Program. Consequently, the Company and its member investors are well positioned to benefit from the growth of organic and specialty crops produced by an expanding base of mostly young farmers. According to Co-Founder, Dr. Stephen Rivard, the prescription for success is simple, “Healthy food is good medicine and good business.”
The Company is committed to the triple bottom line – social responsibility, environmental soundness, and economic viability – and is pleased this commitment has been recognized: Iroquois Valley Farms obtained Certified B Corporation status in 2012 and has been chosen by Impact Assets as a participant in its Impact 50 (IA50) listing of worldwide impact investments for both 2012 and 2013.
About Iroquois Valley Farms
Iroquois Valley Farms LLC was incorporated in Illinois in 2007 to connect investors with local and organic farmland and family farmers. For more information, please contact John Steven Bianucci, Director of Impact at 847-401-6050; firstname.lastname@example.org and visit- www.iroquoisvalleyfarms.com