The ROSE Land Care association was incorporated in November of 1991 for the primary purpose of preserving agricultural lands from development and speculation (click here to find a list of the organization’s objectives). A small group met almost weekly for many months to bring to completion the purchase of Sunnivue Farm and the approval of by-laws, as well as plans for a dairy farm to be operated on the farm. We were happy to work with the previous owners of Sunnivue, Norm and Ruth Smith, in acquiring the farm, and the Smith family have continued to be firm supporters of the land trust project.

From the beginning it has been hard to explain where the ROSE land trust ends and Sunnivue Farm begins. ROSE is a non-profit corporation that holds and protects the land, leasing it to farmers who are able to work the land in ways harmonious with the objectives of the land trust. The farming operation at Sunnivue, on the other hand, is a farming business designed to support the farmers who participate in it. Ownership of the land and buildings rests with the land trust, in accord with the principle that land is a common good belonging to the whole community. Ownership of the farm operation and equipment remains with the farmers.

For 25 years the farmers at Sunnivue were Alex and Ellinor Nurnberg. For fifteen of those years Dagmar Seiboth joined them in the farming operation. They operated a Holstein dairy business and a market garden, and in 1998 they added an on-farm store in its own newly constructed building. During the past few years there have been big changes: Alex and Ellinor sold their dairy herd and began building a water buffalo herd, and Dagmar left the farm to live and work in northern British Columbia, where in her spare time she is still producing beautiful vegetables.

The lovable water buffalo herd left their mark on the Sunnivue legend, and on the Internet you can still find videos of them in their special pond and of Alex and Ellinor extolling their virtues. But eventually the farmers realized that they needed to retire, so the herd was sold to a number of interested farmers and new farmers were sought to continue the Sunnivue tradition.

We were delighted to find a number of interested participants: Twan Peters and Jason O’Neil, who are cropping the land and have some animals in the barn; Matt Marchioni, who is operatinga market garden; Chris White, who is running the store and operating a maple syrup business and a Christmas tree plantation; and Ruben Vega and Dagmar Wendt (not to be confused with Dagmar Seiboth), who are living in the house and building up a bed and breakfast business. These people, who are now charged with the responsibility for operating the farm, meet regularly in the interest of good communication and collaboration. In addition, Alex and Ellinor remain on the farm and hope to be able to fulfill their dream of supporting the continued development of Sunnivue as an organic and ecologically sensitive farming enterprise that reaches out to the public and fulfills the objectives of the land trust.