Tag Archives: local farms

Protecting Farmland, One Scoop at a Time

Few things celebrate summer more than a bowl of ice cream. And what better way to enjoy the tasty treat than go straight to the source for Sundaes on the Farm?

On Sunday, August 21, Graywall Farms and the Farmer’s Cow hosted a special event to raise awareness about the need to save Connecticut’s most valuable and vulnerable resource: our farmland. The event drew 120 supporters and raised $4,500 to support the ongoing work of the Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust.

Our farms and farmland provide much more than the sweet ingredients for a creamy summer treat. Agriculture in Connecticut is essential for a healthy economy, a healthy environment and the preservation of the state’s rich history and culture. But sadly, like much of the nation, Connecticut has seen a rapid loss of farmland due to rising development, with approximately 85 percent of Connecticut’s farmland unprotected.

Sundae on the Farm featured Connecticut fresh ice cream, horse-drawn wagon rides, locally grown roasted sweet corn, and bluegrass music. The event also highlighted the rich history and contributions of agriculture and other rural livelihoods in Connecticut. Not only was it an excellent way for families to have a great day out and enjoy the best of the state, but it also gave attendees the opportunity to support the state’s leading advocacy group for farmland preservation.

The event was a collaborative effort between the Farmer’s Cow and the Working Lands Alliance. Behind the mission “Local is Fresh,” the Farmer’s Cow is a group of six Connecticut dairy farms that produce fresh, local dairy products (including ice cream) for southern New England. The Farmer’s Cow products are pasteurized the “traditional way” and are never ultra-pasteurized. The group also sells Connecticut-sourced all-natural eggs, apple cider and seasonal beverages. The Working Lands Alliance, a project of American Farmland Trust, is a statewide coalition of individuals and more than 200 organizations and businesses working together to help save Connecticut’s valuable and vanishing farmland.

Facts about Connecticut Farms and Farmland

  • Connecticut’s prime farmland is some of the most productive land in the world.
  • There are 321,393 acres of cropland, pasture and woodland on Connecticut’s 4,916 farms.
  • The state has 163,686 acres of cropland, 32,832 acres of pasture and 124,875 acres of farm woodland.
  • Connecticut has 862,822 acres of “prime and important soils”—that’s 27 percent of all state land—which have the potential to be used for agriculture.
  • Sixty-four percent of Connecticut’s farms are fewer than 50 acres.

Working Lands Alliance was grateful to have the incredible support of our sponsors, including Farm Credit East, Jones Family Farms, T.W. Henry Real Estate and Appraisals, CME Engineering, Rockville Bank, and Cooper Whitney Cochran and Francois Attorneys of New Haven. We were also delighted to serve ice cream from the Farmer’s Cow, and roasted sweet corn from Cushman Farm. Prizes from Chestnut Hill Nursery were auctioned off along with Elisha Cooper’s award winning book Farm. Events like these help not only to raise money but also to raise awareness about the need and importance of working together to save farmland in the state. They also demonstrate the deep-seeded support from the community for local agriculture. All in all, Sundae on the Farm was the cherry on top of the many ongoing efforts to protect a viable future for agriculture in Connecticut.

Leah Mayor, Working Lands Alliance Director and New England Project Manager, works on on policy, outreach, and education about the importance of farmland protection in Connecticut and the Northeast.

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Top Five Favorite Farmers Markets in Your State

We’ve released the state-by-state vote counts revealing the five markets in each state that are leading the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets™ competition.

Farmers markets in 49 states and the District of Columbia are competing in the third annual contest for America’s Favorite Farmers Markets that began June 1 and runs throughout the summer.  On August 31, four winning markets—one large, one medium, one small, and one boutique—will receive the title of America’s Favorite Farmers Market for 2011.  For the first time this year, the market in each state with the most votes will also receive a prize.

“This is one of the most exciting moments in the contest,” said American Farmland Trust President Jon Scholl.  “It’s fun to find out which markets are leading in each state.  However, as we’ve seen in previous years, anything can happen between now and August 31 when the online voting closes.”

According to contest rules, farmers market customers can vote for as many participating farmers markets as they choose, but they can only vote for each market once.

The contest is designed to promote the value of farmers markets in communities, and to help shoppers make the connection between fresh local foods and the local farms and farmland that supply them.

“There would be no local food without local farms and farmland,” Scholl added. “People can make a real difference in the economic health of their communities by shopping at farmers markets, participating in CSAs and buying direct from the farm.”

Throughout the contest, we are providing participating markets with tools that help them get out the vote through a variety of mediums such as blogs, widgets and e-mail. Sponsors of the 2011 contest include Epicurious.com, Websticker.com, and Square.

For more information about the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest or to vote, visit www.farmland.org/vote.

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