ALFORD, Mass. – Molly Comstock used to operate her farm, Colfax Farm, on a piece of land in Alford. However, the lease on her land wasn’t renewed after last season, so she’s searching for a new home.
“These are all the beds that I made over the past three or four years,” said Comstock, looking out over her old farm. “That’s the hardest part of leaving where you’ve been working, is leaving all the love and care that you’ve put into the soil.”
In the meantime, Comstock is working part time at the Indian Line Farm in Egremont. Besides helping to pay the bills, the work keeps her grounded.
“Once you’ve farmed for a long time, it can become part of your DNA,” said Comstock. “To not be outside and doing this stuff would be really hard.”
The land Indian Line Farm is on is owned by the Berkshire Community Land Trust, which protects the land and keeps it affordable for the farm’s owners.
It’s a model Comstock is hoping to replicate at the next site of her farm.
“It’s security for the farmer who’s living here on the farm,” said Comstock. “But then it means that this land and these buildings are for the next farmer.”
Comstock is working with the trust to identify a piece of land in south county. However, the trust can only pay up to the land’s appraised value.
And with the inflated prices in the current real estate market, Comstock started a GoFundMe to make up the difference.
“Say a piece of land values at 170, but the landowner would like more than that. I’m trying to raise that difference,” said Comstock. “So that we can actually take a piece of land out of the crazy market and protect it and save it so it remains affordable to a farmer forever.”