Aspiring Farmers: Want to live + farm in a national park?


Uncle Sam Wants You to Live + Farm on a National Park

For those who are staring out the window of a chilly office on a sunny day, dreaming about a life digging into the land, with miles of hiking trails and quiet, pastoral valleys right outside of your front door: the National Park Service may have a job for you.

On Monday, Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio released its long-awaited application for 60-year leases to live and farm on federally-protected historic land—no experience necessary.

Among the offerings, Edgar Farm is a 100 year-old three-bedroom, two-bath home with nine farming acres and the potential for three more for $500 per month. Schmidt-Foster Farm has 12 acres and a 2,800 square-foot home for $825 per month.

Nine farms already operate within Cuyahoga, with specialties ranging from a vineyard to pick-your-own berries, and some of the startup farms had little more than a passion for farming and some capital. For most, farming is a second or retirement career.

Cuyahoga’s long-term 60-year leases allow its farms to plan ahead for sustainability, not just worry about short-term profitability. When a farmer takes a Cuyahoga lease, public education is part of the deal. 

All nine farms, and the two new ones (with potentially two more in the future), receive support from the Countryside Conservancy, the National Park Service’s partner running the farming program. The Conservancy offers training, organizes farmers’ markets, and promotes the farms, functions that are critical to new farmers.

Read the article from NatGeo in its entirety here.


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