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Grown Here at Home: Lick Run Farm land acquisition project allows farmer to expand business in Roanoke

A land acquisition project is giving a farmer an opportunity to expand his business, while meeting a great need in Northwest Roanoke.
Published: May. 9, 2022 at 9:52 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - New life is coming to the Lick Run Farm and Community Market in Northwest Roanoke. Farmer Cam Terry is investing a good amount of sweat equity into it.

“The Agrarian Commons has secured a deal to purchase this land and give my business, Garden Variety Harvests, a 99-year lease to farm this place,” Cam explained.

The Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons seeks to support small-scale farmers to counter high rates of farm loss. Data from the USDA show one-third of farmers are over 65. With these farmers retiring, and in many cases, no one taking on the family farm, for many, the only option is to sell the land.

“The Agrarian Commons is set up to catch some of that land that is falling into the hands of large, industrial-scale farms or product developers’ hands and try to stem that tide just a little bit at a time and put farmers on the land at a cost that’s acceptable for their business models so that they can try to feed their communities,” Cam said.

For farmers like Cam, who are just getting their feet off the ground, buying several acres of land isn’t really an option. But with this deal, Cam’s small-scale farm has now gone from a third of an acre to 3.5 – expanding his business, and allowing a greater opportunity to feed a community that lacks access to fresh produce.

“The longer we went through the land search, the more clear it became to us that staying urban was an important part of the business. We just have so much ability to have a social impact in a place like this,” Cam explained.

The Lick Run Farm and Community Market is the first land acquisition project for the Southwest Virginia Agrarian Commons.

“Once this land goes into the Agrarian Commons, it will never be bought or sold again. It will be forever committed to growing food for this community. And that’s not just my farm and my business, that’s the next farmer, and all the farmers down the road who will come in and work on this land. As long as there are people populating Northwest Roanoke this will be a farm that will provide food for these people,” Cam explained.

There’s a fundraising effort to acquire the land. The project costs $426,250. The Agrarian Commons is working with several community partners to raise funds, but they’ll take all the help they can get. Click here if you’d like to donate and get a breakdown of the cost of the project. If you’re not able to give a monetary donation, you can also donate your time. Garden Variety Harvests is always in need of volunteers. On their website, you can sign up to be on their mailing list and get notified of opportunities.

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