Smart Farm Project


The Smart Farm Project explores whether increased density on land using low footprint cluster designs could catalyze small farms and provide affordable housing for the younger generation of farmers we so desperately need.

About The Smart Farm Project

The Smart Farm project was envisioned by Chad Hershler and Sandy Buck, co-founders of Deer Crossing The Art Farm, based on their own experience trying to maximize use of their land while providing affordable housing for a farmer.

The project went through several stages, beginning with market research and an outreach phase to assess data and gather feedback, a series of case studies that showcase three viable models for Smart Farm development, and devising a detailed legal and financial framework for piloting this initiative.

Currently, The Art Farm organization is working towards launching the first Smart Farm pilot in 2022


Bare Land Strata

A Smart Farm using the Bare Land Strata model would develop a mixed use Strata Plan with at least one large strata lot designated for agricultural use and several smaller lots designated for residential use.

  • Multiple owners each buy a lot and build a residence within a strata.
  • Bare Land Strata is possible where municipal water is available, or for larger land parcels where residential lots can be at least 2 hectares (2.5 acres) in size.
  • At least one residence will be retained by the Trust for affordable farm housing.
  • Bare Land Strata farmland is owned by the Trust as a separate lot within the Strata.

View more details about the Bare Land Strata model…


Community Strata

A Smart Farm using the Community Strata model would develop a mixed use Building Strata Plan, with a large portion of the Strata’s Common or Limited Common Property allocated to agricultural use.

  • Multiple owners each purchase a residence within a strata community.
  • Community Strata allows for smaller land parcels than Bare Land Strata.
  • At least one residence will be retained by the Trust for affordable farm housing.
  • Farmland is located on Common or Limited Common Property jointly owned by the strata owners, but reserved for farming use overseen by the Trust.
  • Requires more up-front capitalization than Bare Land Strata to develop land and housing.

View more details about the Community Strata model…


Housing and Farming Cooperative 

A Housing & Farming Co-operative would divide a property into a number of residential ownership units, which would share ownership of the agricultural land. The Co-operative would either manage its own farming company or lease the land to a separate farming entity.

  • On an annual basis, co-op owners elect a board to manage the property and, in some cases, the farming business.
  • If the Co-op entity does not lease out its farming operation, the Co-op owners would elect a separate board to manage a wholly-owned farming subsidiary.
  • The Co-operative model may provide greater access to affordable housing beyond that required for farmers, if that is a priority of the Co-op when it establishes the Smart Farm.
  • The defining feature of a Co-operative is the governance structure of “one member one vote” that applies irrespective of the amount of financial investment and number of membership or investment shares held by any one member.

View more details about the Housing & Farming Co-operative model…