The City of Phoenix has set aside an additional $2 million to continue protecting urban farmland from development. Through a partnership with Central AZ Land Trust (CALT), Maya’s Farm has been permanently protected from development via a conservation easement, and additional funds are now available for more conservation easements.
In June 2021, the Phoenix City Council approved $1 million for the Farmland Preservation Program, part of its Phoenix Resilient Food System Program, for which CALT is the administrator. Since then, the Phoenix City Council approved $2 million more for this program. This means other farmland owners can be paid to sell their development rights while maintaining their farms for the benefit of all.
Governed by A.R.S. 33-271, et seq., conservation easements are voluntary contractual relationships between a land trust and a landowner whereby the landowner sells or donates their development rights while still owning the land. A landowner can get paid 60-80% of the full sale value of the property (based on a qualified appraisal). Because the conservation easement binds all future owners of the property, the farm will remain in agricultural production and open space in perpetuity.
“We are very excited that this Program will receive double the funding this year to conserve more vital urban farms within Phoenix,” said Rosanne Albright, Environmental Programs Coordinator for the City of Phoenix.
“We are grateful that the City of Phoenix continues to recognize the importance of maintaining working lands and prioritizes conserving our local farms and food supply,” said Becky Ruffner, President of the CALT Board.
With the success of having conserved Maya’s Farm, CALT will continue to engage other farmland owners to participate in this Program. Interested farmland owners in Phoenix can contact Sharma Torrens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CALT needs help from the community to conserve these local farms; the City will pay 75% of the conservation easement value, and CALT will fundraise for the remainder. Click here for details on how to contribute to the cause.