Our Story

Mission

Welcome to Yggdrasil Land Foundation - a new form of land trust whose purpose is to catalyze the
viability of biodynamic, organic, and sustainable farming for food security and the health of communities through land access for farmers, stewardship, and renewal. Yggdrasil receives gifts of agricultural land and other convertible properties and also partners with local initiatives to support the purchase of land or conservation easements.

History

Yggdrasil was incorporated in 2000, as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, to protect farmland and provide land access for individuals and communities that value and integrate sustainable agricultural practices. Yggdrasil was founded with the vision of securing land in perpetuity for use as biodynamic and organic farms and  was brought into being by two gifts of land, one in California and one in Wisconsin.  Since that time, Yggdrasil has received an additional property in Wisconsin and one in New Hampshire, which was purchased with gifts raised by the community. The properties, totaling over 340 acres, are managed as organic and biodynamic farms under the diligent care of long-term farmers.  See Yggdrasil’s Protected Farms for detailed property and farmer/lessee information.  There are currently several new projects underway which will protect significantly more land.

Yggdrasil has been an all volunteer board-driven organization since its inception and is continually building its organizational capacity to take on future projects and increase its effectiveness.

Organizational Design

Yggdrasil is chartered to receive land and hold conservation easements to preserve agricultural lands in perpetuity. Yggdrasil represents a new form of land preservation, the result of three organizations working in association to advance the viability of biodynamic, organic, and sustainable, farming and promote the renewal of the Earth as a foundation of community.

Yggdrasil was incorporated as a ‘supporting organization’ to support the work of three distinct non-profit organizations; RSF Social Finance (RSF)-San Francisco, CA, Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association (BDA)- East Troy, WI, and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) - East Troy, WI.  Yggdrasil’s national board of trustees consists of appointees of these non-profit organizations along with some members-at-large. RSF brings social and environmental financial management expertise, manages the financial endowment and administrative aspects. The Biodynamic Association provides a rich relationship to the national diverse community engaging in biodynamic and kindred agricultural practices.  Michael Fields is a research institute situated in East Troy Wisconsin, which seeks to provide educational and policy support to sustainable agricultural practitioners.

Need for Farmland Preservation

The rate of conversion of prime agricultural land from the early 1980’s to the late 1990’s increased by 51%, and as of 2007 our nation is losing 1.2 million acres every year.  Conversion of our most fertile and productive soils is being lost at the fastest rate to residential and commercial development.  And urban-fringe farming accounts for 86% of our fruits and vegetables, and 63% of our dairy products.
Rapid farmland conversion to development, since the 1980’s, plays a key role in our steep agricultural challenges.  However, other current trends are adding to the severity of the issue.  The average age of farmers is 58 years old; land values have continued to rise since the 1960’s and have escalated since late 1999 to a level at which beginning farmers are unable to purchase affordable farms; the number of young people interesting in farming as a vocation is  growing again after a generational lapse, and over 50% of US farms are owned by non-farmers.  The industrial, chemical model of agriculture that arose in the 1950’s has displaced small family farms, degraded our natural resources, and the overall health of environment.  These national challenges transcend globally in similar fashions and we now face even greater challenges that stem from GMO seed production and the concept of land grabbing for outsourced food production by many nations. 

Yggdrasil Land Foundation was founded by forward-looking individuals inspired by the ideas of Rudolf Steiner. The land foundation, primarily through land ownership throughout the United States, seeks to be responsible for the lasting stewardship of land by offering it to mission aligned biodynamic, organic and sustainable farmers.   It holds land in perpetuity and helps farms transfer usership over generations. The land then becomes a non-monetary resource to be used by those who will care for the land and offer its bounty to the community. When the land is owned as a commodity to be speculated upon, financial priorities can demand that the land give of itself to the point of depletion.  This is sadly happening through soil erosion, and the contamination of our earth water and air.  Yggdrasil seeks to reverse this trend one farm at a time.

See the following article for more information:  Seeking Solutions to Preserve Your Cherished Farms

 

 

 

link to RSF Social Finance Link to the biodynamic farming and gardening association link to the michael fields agricultural institute