The spotlight was on 12 remarkable women Thursday, June 19, at the State Capitol as Connecticut’s Conservation Partnership recognized them for their work in agriculture and natural resources conservation. This year’s theme was Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment: Stories of the Extraordinary Determination of Women, and the event honored the exceptional and often unrecognized determination and tenacity of women in a non-traditional field.
Connecticut may be the third smallest state in the nation, but it has a large agricultural presence – which led to the state being featured recently by the USDA on the federal agency’s website.
The law grants the Commissioners of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Agriculture the explicit right to place conservation restrictions on land acquired to protect natural resources, open space or agricultural uses; and requires DEEP to create an online public use and benefit land registry containing information about state-owned conservation properties.
A rare coastal forest similar to the 1,000 acres in Old Saybrook known as The Preserve, Oswegatchie Hills is also deserving of the state’s help in finally securing its future as protected land.
DEEP will use the new bond funds, along with at least $5 million it has received under the Community Investment Act (CIA) to award the 17th round of grants this year. “Our state has set an ambitious goal of protecting 21% of Connecticut’s land – or 673,210 acres – as open space by the year 2023,” Malloy said. The bonding will be added to at least $5 million from the Community Investment Act account to fund awards for the 17th round of the Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWLA) Grant Program. The deadline for applications for the new round of grants was March 31. DEEP received 30 applications for funding open space projects totaling more than 2,200 acres. It also received two applications for the Urban Green and Community Garden portion of the grant program, the Connecticut Land Conservation Council reports.
The Aspetuck Land Trust announced it has accepted a donation of 4.57 acres of land at 199 Horseshoe Lane near Merwins Lane. The land donation means a total of 131 acres of land in Fairfield within 22 separate preserves are now managed by the land trust and designated as protected open space forever.
Standard plots of 33′x33′ are available for $65 per year. Up to 10 plots (approx. acre) may be leased per farmer or group. Smaller plots are also available. The lease application will be available in mid-May. Plot location and quantity are based on a first come, first served paid application.
The end of March marked a significant occasion for the Guilford Land Conservation Trust (GLCT): The group made its final, $100,000 payment on the 17-acre parcel of land located in the center of Westwoods.
Referring to the agency’s accepting applications for its new Agricultural Conservation Easements Program that makes $2 million available, initially, to Connecticut for the purchase of conservation easements on eligible agricultural lands and wetlands, Lisa Coverdale, Connecticut State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, said: “This is an exciting new opportunity for even more people to get involved in conserving natural resources.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has announced a plan for the state to play a major role in purchasing and protecting as open space a sometimes-contentious 1,000-acres along Long Island Sound ironically dubbed “The Preserve” by the wanna-be developers of a housing development and 18-hole golf course on the property that is in Essex, Westbrook and, mostly, Old Saybrook.
Residents of Connecticut have yet another reason to celebrate Earth Day this week as the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announces the purchase of development rights of two more farms under the agency’s Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program
“This grant will help continue our work of keeping what was the Pirhalla property as a working community farm,” said Rep. Terry Backer, who also serves as executive director and soundkeeper of Soundkeeper, Inc. “What was once a fallow tract of land now produces locally harvested food for Stratford residents.”
Reading the governor’s press releases, Connecticut might think that preservation of farmland and prevention of “suburban sprawl” are compelling issues. Riding the train from Greenwich to Hartford gives a contrary impression. Thanks to Amtrak, such a trip is still possible for those who can deal with the bumps, shuttered washrooms, and clogged toilets.
It could happen — but people on all sides are trying to work things out so it doesn’t.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and federal officials Wednesday announced an agreement that allows the state to access more than $8 million in federal funds for farmland preservation. The agreement also will increase flexibility in use of federal money through the state’s Farmland Preservation Program. The deal was jointly announced by Malloy, Connecticut Department of Agriculture
For six decades, writer Wendell Berry has spoken out in defense of local agriculture, rural communities, and the importance of caring for the land. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about his Kentucky farm, his activism, and why he remains hopeful for the future.
A new report on sustainable agriculture policy recommends that New England build its own regional food system with locally-grown products.
Shady Maple Farm in Salisbury will share in a statewide $880,327 grant program that seeks to support farmers and expand Connecticut’s agricultural economy.
Modern Farmer, a quarterly introduced last March to cover both farmers and the farm-to-table movement, has picked up two National Magazine Award nominations from the American Society of Magazine Editors, one for general excellence among special-interest magazines and one in the magazine section category for its “Modern Farmer Handbook.”
Getting the younger generation interested in farming is important for the future of American agriculture, and a recent event in Connecticut served as an education and network opportunity for beginning farmers.
The “Build Your Network, Grow Our Future” event held last month in East Windsor, Conn. attracted about 60 people to share resources and learn.