What We’ve Done.
Preserving Farms. Supporting Sustainable Farmer Livelihoods.
- Led a petition drive that demonstrated strong support in the New Milford community for saving farms when almost 3,000 residents, or about 10 percent of the population, signed on. This was key in persuading town leaders to back preserving surviving farms
- Helped preserve almost 280 acres across four family farms —with a fourth of 70 acres pending–in New Milford’s Ridge Road area. At over 1,000 acres, this is one of the largest swathes of nearly contiguous working farms with prime agricultural soils in southern Litchfield County. [Funding from The Town of New Milford, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Preservation of Development Rights (PDR) program, the US Department of Agriculture, and a private farm owner.]
- Initiated discussions to preserve over the long-term an additional 750 acres of valuable Ridge Road area farmland.
- Created and succeeded in implementing New Milford’s right-to-farm ordinance, the first in Litchfield County and the second in Connecticut
- Secured insertion of a comprehensive section Farmland and Farming in the current New Milford 10-Year Plan of Conservation and Development. It underscores the importance of farming as an economic driver and rationale for municipal, state and federal investment in our town’s farmland preservation.
- Worked closely with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to officially identify New Milford’s Locally Important Farmland Soils. This is important when applying for PDR funds.
- Designated one of 24 municipalities approved by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture for the state’s new Community Farms Preservation Program, designed to help preserve smaller family farms than is characteristic of the PDR program.
- Assisted New Milford farmers in maintaining their vital PA 490 property tax deductions
- Organized or provided support to workshops for our farmers on farmland preservation strategies, successful 21st century farming models, grant resources for infrastructure improvements and social media marketing
- Conducted a study to explore expansion of distribution of area farm produce and products in partnership with New Milford Hospital’s Plow-to-Plate program and New Milford Economic Development Commission (EDC). [Funding from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research Education Program (SARE)]
- Raised awareness of over 200 diverse area farms and artisan food producers by creating and distributing Who’s Your Farmer? , a handy booklet with contact information and produce and product availability, and developing a search tool on this website for consumers to find and support local agriculture.
- Designed and developed www.newmilfordfarmersmarket.com to highlight our seasonal farmers market on the Green
- Launched an annual Harvest Expo showcasing area farmers’ produce and products at Sullivan Farm’s October Fall Festival