MAKING ALLIES FOR HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES
The legacy of natural resource conservation and preservation of open spaces in Wisconsin is entwined with our region’s strong agricultural background. Rolling farm fields, red barns and animals in pastures are the backdrop to the rural character that makes living in Wisconsin special.
The farm families, agricultural businesses, and the community businesses our agricultural economy supports are the backbone of the community. Right now, across the country and especially in Wisconsin, farm families are struggling, with many farms forced to sell their family's productive farms.
And the struggle for our farming families also impacts conservation.
When farms are sold off for the conservation benefits of farmland – and rural character itself – is eroded one acre at a time. According to the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin lost 100,000 acres of farmland each of the last two years. Once farms are bulldozed and paved over, that land is gone forever.
With ever-increasing development pressures, we are in a race against time to strike a balance for our region that includes working lands, family farms, and self-sustaining communities.
The Making Allies partnership is conserving farmland, improving water quality, and delivering good food, all while giving local farmers a helping hand.
In the coming months, our community of supporters has the opportunity to forever protect one family farm in Ozaukee County and all the conservation and community benefits that come with good farming: clean water, good food, and scenic open spaces.
But our plan goes even further.
In order to deepen the benefits for farmers, we will be working through competitive application process to select a farm family who will be purchasing this forever-protected, prime farmland at a substantially reduced price.
We are eager to replicate this model and with the successful sale of this property to farmers we will generate a land conservation fund and be able to reinvest the farm sale proceeds into more land conservation across our community.
You can read our full plan in the attached proposal.
Together, we can protect our water, our farms, our families, and our very way of life in Wisconsin.
The farm pictured here and featured in our project launch video is the current Fondy Farm at Mequon Nature Preserve. In 2002 Ozaukee Washington Land Trust in partnership with the City of Mequon, Wisconsin DNR's Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, U.S. Fish & Wildlife NAWCA funding, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and many generous philanthropists purchased the property for conservation. The property is now owned by City of Mequon and leased to the Mequon Nature Preserve. Through a partnership with the Fondy Food Center, the land offers farmers the opportunity to rent land and improve the soils. In the future, the majority of this farmed land will be converted to a restored natural area.
Located approximately one mile from the current Fondy Farm at Mequon Nature Preserve is the community’s next opportunity to conserve 60 acres of prime farmland forever and give farmers the opportunity to farm the property and also to own the land. Through this project farmers will be building long-term generational wealth for their families while building up the soils and improving access to good food and clean water for our community.