- $21,376 Pledged
- 106% Funded
We are looking for your help to preserve Winterwood Farm.
Farm owners, Bob and Simone Rodgers, are nearing retirement age. They approached Freeport Conservation Trust to talk about how they could fulfill their vision of protecting the land from development to ensure that it remains farmland forever. Together we came up with a plan: the Trust is working to purchase a conservation easement from Bob and Simone Rodgers.
Winterwood Farm, on Webster Road in Freeport, has 46 acres of pasture and woodland. Sixty five percent of the pasture’s soils are designated as prime or of statewide importance by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The farm sits on top of the aquifer that supplies 90% of Freeport’s public drinking water supply. A house, an apartment, and an additional house site on the property enhance the farm’s financial viability, offering affordable housing for farm owners and workers. A large stable and arena provide over 16,000 square feet of indoor space for animals, food storage or even an indoor farmers market someday. People walking, biking and driving by enjoy views of the scenic fields, fencelines and grazing horses.
Already, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm and Ranch Land Protection program has awarded $90,000 toward the purchase of the development rights. Maine’s Land for Maine’s Future program has also promised $105,000 to this project after a highly competitive review process. The Trust has raised most of the funds to pay for the value of the easement and the expenses of doing the transaction. We are counting on your support to help raise the final $40,000 needed.
Farming in Maine has increased 14% in the past year. A vibrant agricultural community exists throughout our state thanks in part to the dedication of many local farmers, an excellent public agriculture extension service, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association farm internship program. People’s interest in eating locally grown food is driving this trend. However, many young farmers cannot afford to buy a farm. Winterwood Farm's owners dream of making their farm affordable for future generations of farmers.
FCT board member Polly Smith explains her motivation for working to protect Winterwood Farm, "In southern Maine, development pressures are increasing the cost of the land out of reach for future farmers. Putting a conservation easement on farmland is the only way I know to make it affordable for future generations of farmers. We are lucky the current owners are committed to making this happen, if we can raise sufficient funds."
Fellow Freeport farmers Steve Burger and Sarah Wiederkehr from Winter Hill Farm, offer their perspective, "Agricultural easements are long-term commitments to the community - commitments to a place and stewardship of it, which will not only benefit the land, but also those who farm on it and live near it. We want to live in a place with open, undeveloped land, a vibrant local economy, and a sustainable future. Protecting local farmlands is one step towards that future."
- Preserve forever the farm's prime agricultural soils.
- Protect Freeport’s drinking water by ensuring sound farming practices, not suburban development, occur over the aquifer.
- Conserve the views of open pasture enjoyed by people passing by on foot, by bike and in cars traveling on Webster Road.
- Enhance the opportunity for future generations of farmers to buy a farm in Freeport where they can grow food for people and restaurants.
- Engage the Freeport community in raising funds to protect the farm forever.
Right now, we need your financial support to ensure that Winterwood Farm remains a farm forever. Please contribute to our campaign here at WorthWild. When you make a donation through WorthWild it is still a charitable donation to Freeport Conservation Trust.
For more information about Freeport Conservation Trust, visit www.freeportconservationtrust.org or call (207)865-3985 x 212
Created by: Freeport ConservationTrust