Last February, Silvia Abel-Caines, a garlic farmer and ruminant nutritionist for Organic Valley, made a farmer profile on our site. We were impressed by her drive, enthusiasm for teaching, and passion for engaging the community. At the time, Silvia had her garlic planted on leased land a three-and-a-half hour drive from where her family lived in Hanover Park (read more about that here). Needless to say, her desire to find land closer to home and to her family’s network of friends was acute.
In the process of getting to know her story and offering ideas for her search strategies, we connected her with Linda Balek at The Land Conservancy of McHenry County and Emy Brawley at The Conservation Fund. We’re excited to report that she has found a much better land access situation thanks to The Conservation Fund’s Working Farms Fund!
The Conservation Fund is partnering with The Land Conservancy to put an agricultural easement on a 34-acre property in Woodstock with woods, a two-story garage, and an old farmhouse. Under the arrangement, The Conservation Fund will purchase the property, and Silvia will enter into a lease-to-buy agreement so that she can begin farming there now. Later, when her finances permit, she will buy the land. Through the teamwork of the organizations involved, Silvia has an opportunity to build her dream farm and bring nutritious garlic to the people!