Western PA Conservancy: Honoring Earth Day By Preserving An Historic Farm In Westmoreland County
On April 22, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy announced the purchase of 27 acres of farmland in South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, near New Stanton, that will soon be available for lease to local farmers as part of the Conservancy’s Farmland Access Initiative.
The initiative connects farmers seeking to grow crops or raise livestock with affordable farmland, in order to supply Pittsburgh area restaurants, farmers markets and food distributors.
This newly acquired farm is located approximately 45 minutes east of Pittsburgh in Ruffs Dale near the New Stanton exit on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76).
Protecting this farmland, says Tom Saunders, president and CEO of the Conservancy, safeguards this beautiful and historic farm property, helps address the challenges of farmers needing affordable farmland, and supports local food production for the Pittsburgh region.
Operated as a homestead and farm since the 1820s, the farm had been in the previous owner’s family since 1893.
Historically the land was used for crops, an orchard and raising beef cattle. Structures include a main house (the original part of the house dates back to 1827), a spring house, garage and barn built in 1889. A small, spring-fed pond is located between the main house and the guesthouse.
“It’s fitting that we permanently protected this farmland today on Earth Day; not only will this land never be developed, it will remain a farm for planting and growing crops as it has since 1827,” said Saunders. “We’ll work to ensure that the natural features of the farm are protected while helping out local farmers wanting to provide organic local foods to people living in the region.”
The Conservancy already has two locations, one in Mercer County and another in Lawrence County, where farmers are leasing farmland to raise livestock or produce crops for food distribution in the Pittsburgh region.
“Purchasing land and equipment to operate a farm are among the biggest financial challenges most new farmers will face,” says Jake Kristophel, a co-owner of Fallen Aspen Farm, which is located on a WPC property in Lawrence County. “The option to lease land made farming more attractive and affordable for us, and leasing continues to be the right choice for our small ag business.”
Farmers interested in leasing acres of this farm in Westmoreland County should contact the Conservancy at 412-288-2777 or send email to: email@example.com for more information.
Funding to acquire this property was made possible by the generosity of the Henry L. Hillman, Colcom and Katherine Mabis McKenna foundations, the Heinz Endowments and an anonymous donor.
In the spirit of Earth Day, please support your local farms, especially during this challenging time. Buy local produce, meat, dairy and other products, and consider subscribing to a CSA. Your support of local agriculture helps to ensure a healthier and greener region for all of us.
More information is available on programs, initiatives and special events at the Western PA Conservancy website. Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Conservancy, Like them on Facebook, Follow them on Twitter, join them on Instagram, visit the Conservancy’s YouTube Channel or add them to your network on Linkedin. Click Here to support their work.
Earth Day 50 PA
Visit the Earth Day 50 PA website for more special events, Earth Day 1970 remembrances, environmental reading lists and more.
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Op-Ed: Earth Day 1970 Changed My Life - Carol Collier, The Academy Of Natural Sciences
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DEP’s Blog: Earth Day 50 PA: DEP Staff Reflections
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[Posted: April 22, 2020]
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