We planted 10,000 trees at Rock Creek Farms earlier this June, making our agroforestry plans a reality. Planting trees has proved to be a powerful experience for all involved. As we face sobering news within our country, from the rising death toll of Covid-19 to police responding with brutality to peaceful protests honoring George Floyd, we seem to be facing a reckoning. At Rock Creek, planting trees has been an exercise in hope: land that had been a conventional monoculture can become a native forest ecosystem. Change is possible. We can build a better future.
Trees of Change
In collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Reserve Program , the Savanna Institute , Midwest Agroforestry Solutions , and Healing Soils Foundation , we planted 10,000 trees in eight rows at Rock Creek Farm. Each tree is native to Illinois. The biodiverse grouping of 25 species was designed to surround the organic fields and act as a protective windbreak. In fact, the trees provide much more by sheltering the organic crops from development and pesticide drift from neighboring conventional farms.

Agroforestry at Rock Creek Farms is a long-term economic undertaking in partnership with the farmer. In the future, we anticipate expanding these practices to include alley cropping and silvopasture.

The photos left show team members from the Savanna Institute planting trees as well as the fruit of a paw paw tree. This photo is credited to Wendell Smith.
at Rock Creek
We spoke with Kaitie Adams, Savanna Institute's Illinois Demonstration Farm Manager, about agroforestry and its potential in Illinois. At its most basic, agroforestry is the combination of trees and agriculture and has roots in indigenous traditions of ecosystem management and production. The trees chosen for Rock Creek Farms play many roles: they reduce soil erosion, help retain water, and they can be harvested for food, timber, floral arrangements, and more. The paw paw tree, for example, has delicious fruit and grows throughout Illinois and North America in shady areas. This makes it an ideal tree for the understory of the windbreak. Kaitie calls the paw paw "one of the most American fruits there is" because of its history and role as a food source for indigenous Americans and all those who forage for it and grow it. Kaitie is shown right planting trees at Rock Creek Farm.

On the importance of choosing native trees, Kaitie says, "I don't know what our climate will be like in 20 years and models vary based on the data used –– when we use native trees, we know they can withstand changes. They are resilient and have been on this planet longer than humans. The trees we plant today will be there for future generations." This practice benefits young farmers in particular because agroforestry grows with us. It is a more hands-on investment at the start but becomes easier over time as the trees mature and the ecosystem becomes more self-sustaining.

This project is under contract with the Conservation Reserve Program for ten years, at which point the trees will be established and can contribute to the cash flow at Rock Creek. Although more farmers are diversifying their crop rotation, much of Illinois is still dominated by commodity crops. Agroforestry can play a role in creating ecosystem resilience and developing new markets in the rural Midwest. Kaitie believes that "at a time of huge soil degradation, it's imperative to implement practices that we know work to help soil, like windbreaks and cover crops." The trees in the windbreak at Rock Creek Farms have proven market demand and are actively sinking carbon at the same time.
This graphic explains how a windbreak works and can positively impact crops, soil, and water retention.
Investing in Iroquois Valley means investing in people & places
We have been helping organic family farmers survive the “valley of death” (the 3-year transition to organic) with innovative financial products since our inception in 2007. Thanks to our 2019 Conservation Innovation Grant, we are now able to support more conservation projects on our farms, including agroforestry. While conservation may look different across our farms, we look forward to supporting place-based conservation projects that build healthy soil and ecosystems.

We believe funding conservation projects supports our goals as a public benefit company to enable healthy food production, restore soil, and improve water quality by establishing secure and sustainable farmland tenure. We see finance as a tool to enable farm viability, support healthy ecosystems, and above all, scale organic agriculture.

Iroquois Valley's REIT Equity Shares are currently being reviewed by the SEC after being updated with a new share price of $595. Our Soil Restoration Notes are open and support our ability to invest in farmers and grow the good food movement, acre by acre and farmer by farmer.

Learn more about investing by visiting our website or reach out to set up a conversation at
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Securities involve risk, and investment may result in a partial or total loss. Some of the statements herein may constitute forward-looking statements under federal securities laws. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including those described in offering circulars prepared for the purpose of offering and selling securities by Iroquois Valley. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns, or probability projections may not reflect actual future performance.

Iroquois Valley and its affiliates are not liable for any investment decisions by its readers or subscribers. It is strongly recommended that any purchase or sale decision be discussed with a financial advisor, tax advisor, broker-dealer, or a member of any financial regulatory body. The information contained herein has been provided as an information service only. The accuracy or completeness of the information is not warranted and is only as reliable as the sources from which it was obtained.

In particular, Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT, PBC is offering its common stock for sale pursuant to Tier 2 of Regulation A+, and as such intends to be exempted from state qualification pursuant to federal law. Offerings are only made through our  Offering Circular , available here. No offer to sell securities or solicitation of an offer to buy securities is being made herein or in any state where such offer or sale is not permitted under the blue sky or state securities laws thereof. No offer to sell securities or solicitation of an offer to buy securities is being made in the following states: AL, AR, ND, OK, and WV.
As a corporate guideline,  we do not look for specific farmland to purchase or finance. We develop relationships with farmers, mostly young and organic, who want to grow their farm business. We move forward when we have a ready, willing and able farmer. 
Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT | Public Benefit Corporation  
 Certified   B  Corporation | Est. 2007

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