Historically Underserved and BIPOC Farmers Access Affordable Farmland

How The SAgE Farmland Access Program Works

Growing New Farms through Affordable, Long-Term Leases on Preserved Farmland

How Land Trusts Can Provide Farmland Access to New Farmers

Sustainable Agriculture Enterprise (SAgE) program makes farmland accessible to farmers at affordable long-term leases. Now accepting applications from natural, organic and regenerative farmers.

These SAgE land access program videos were produced by Kennette Productions. They were supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through “USDA SCBG grant agreement number 21SCBPNJ1048-00.” Content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

The Foodshed Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Enterprise (SAgE) program is designed to address one of the biggest challenges to New Jersey farmers—access to affordable farmland. New Jersey has the second most expensive farmland in the country yet has preserved more of its farmland than any state in the country, about a third. Short-term leasing (usually 1 year) is the norm in New Jersey on deed-restricted farmland, which is problematic for farmers since it inhibits investment in infrastructure and long-term improvement in soil health, critical to farmers using sustainable methods to produce food.

Through the SAgE program, the Foodshed Alliance works with land trusts that hold deed-restricted farmland and facilitates farmers’ access to affordable 10-year lease agreements.

The Foodshed Alliance is always looking for more land to expand the program. Interested farmers are encouraged to apply, regardless of current active lease availability. 

SAgE goes beyond addressing land access for farmers. Accepted Farm applicants are committed to growing and raising food using organic guidelines as outlined by The National Organic Program (NOP).  Farmers are not required to become certified organic but are asked and encouraged to grow beyond organic using natural, sustainable, and regenerative practices.

“The Foodshed Alliance works at the intersection of food, farming and the environment and this program is a perfect example of that,” explained Kendrya Close, executive director, Foodshed Alliance. “We want to facilitate more organic growers, improving the health of soils and waters, and growing healthy food for our communities.”

The SAgE program is open to farmers who are dedicated to sustainable agriculture and who can demonstrate solid farming experience and business plans. Leases for individual plots are available to sustainable farm businesses at affordable rates for a period of at least 10 years.

Contact Eric Derby, SAgE Program Manager at Eric@FoodshedAlliance.org with any questions.

“Farmers in NJ really need a program like this.  It would be great to see this project expand from an experiment to a replicable model throughout NJ.”

New Jersey Department of Agriculture Secretary Douglas Fisher

Meet Our SAgE Farmers