Growing Good Podcast #78: Bonnie Warndahl, gardener and land steward

Find Your Dream Farm, with Bonnie Warndahl!

by Allison Lemons

If you are searching for your dream farm, this podcast episode with Bonnie Warndahl has you covered. Bonnie searched for years to find the property that is now her Winnowburrow Farm and Florals, in Colfax, Wisconsin. Listen to Bonnie’s story about how she came to be interested in gardening and stewarding land. (Thanks, Barbara Kingsolver!) Follow her journey through various programs to learn about farm business, renting farmland as a beginning farmer, losing a farmland deal, and finally finding and purchasing her dream farm.

Warndahl talks about the Renewing the Countryside nonprofit that she works with as a farmland access specialist. From food hubs to farm-to-childcare and connecting farmers with farmland, the organization is building a regional network to prop up farmers of all kinds. The Farmland Access Hub helps assess farmers’ readiness for land access, guides farmers in their loan applications, and provides resources to help farmers with their land search and purchase.

Dive into the facts about why farmland access is so hard as well as why it’s so vital. “It’s important for people to understand how dire of a situation we are in, unbeknownst to so many people,” Warndahl says. She continues, talking about an impending food crisis facing the US, given the confluence of the advancing age of farmers, farmland real estate prices and fewer new farmers coming in to replace those who are retiring. Hear about federal and state policy solutions that may help ease some of the issues complicating the current farmland-access crisis.

Get Warndahl’s best advice for your farmland search, from her lived experience as a beginning farmer trying to purchase land as well as her professional experience as a farmland access specialist. Start by preparing yourself, knowing how and why you’re farming, and exploring all manner of outlets to search for land. Best of all, find out how you can get connected to farmland access assistance!

Finally, hear about Warndahl’s Winnowburrow Farm and Florals. While Bonnie is currently focusing on her farmland access specialist work, she has big plans for this farm and retreat space.

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Renewing the Countryside

Farmland Access Hub

Women, Food and Agriculture Network

Episode 23 with WFAN executive director Jules Salinas

Community Farm Alliance

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