Welcoming a Leader in Conservation to Our New England Staff
In January 2012, we were pleased to welcome Kip Kolesinskas to American Farmland Trust’s New England office as our new Conservation Scientist.
Kip joins us from a long and successful tenure with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service for Connecticut and Rhode Island. From 1995 to 2011, he managed the federal Farm and Ranch Lands Protection program in Connecticut, which contributed $38.6 million to protect more than 10,000 acres of farmland.
Kip has a tremendous understanding of the resource challenges facing our region and the federal conservation programs being used to address them. We are excited to have him working with us to find creative and collaborative ways to protect our agricultural resources, expand access to land and improve the region’s farm and food security.
You may already know Kip from his ongoing contributions to the Farmland ConneCTions project and the Planning for Agriculture and Conservation Options for Connecticut Farmland guides. If not, please join us in welcoming him to American Farmland Trust. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 18,
our voice of farmland preservation in Connecticut, the Working Lands Alliance, welcomed supporters to its 9th Annual Meeting and Luncheon. The luncheon featured a seasonal bisque prepared by Chef Kevin Cottle (runner-up on the tv-reality show, Hell's Kitchen) and a roasted vegetable and pesto dish made with herbs grown by The Sound School students and prepared by Chef Tim Cipriano aka the 'Local Food Dude' of New Haven Public Schools Food Service. Dessert using locally grown apples and milk was prepared by the Local Routes team at University of Connecticut. Two guest speakers—Peter Orr of Fort Hill Farms and Liz MacAlister of Cato Corner Farm— highlighted this year’s topic of Dairy Diversity. Legislator and Pathfinder awards will also be presented.
Legislator awards for outstanding leadership on behalf of farmland preservation policy were presented to Representative Bryan Hurlburt and Senate President Pro Tem Donald Williams; Gordon Gibson, CT State Grange, was awarded the Outstanding Individual Pathfinder Award; Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation & Development, Inc. was awarded the Outstanding Group Pathfinder Award.
A report finalized by the New England Governors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Land Conservation offers recommendations to keep the region’s farmland in farming. Recommendations include a New England Farm and Food Security Initiative to identify and address barriers and opportunities to increase production and consumption of New England-grown farm and food products, and protect the region’s agricultural lands. Commission members briefed the New England governors on the recommendations, and we will be working with the Commission and the six state Departments of Agriculture to move these valuable recommendations forward.
A new “Keep Local Farms” program launched by New England state agricultural leaders and dairy promotion organizations and inspired by the “fair trade” concept, will allow consumers to contribute online to directly support the region’s dairy farmers, and in the future, through co-branded dairy products. “Dairy farms are the ‘anchor tenants’ of New England’s agricultural landscape,” said our New England Director Cris Coffin. “The stability of this bucolic pastured landscape depends on the economic stability of our dairy farms—and this initiative offers consumers a way to support local dairy farms directly and help ensure that farmers receive a sustainable price for their milk.”
FACT: New England has approximately 1,880 dairy farms; dairy farmers are currently receiving about .97 cents per gallon of milk while it costs about $1.80 a gallon to produce.
Working Lands Alliance—a project of AFT—has once again been selected as a beneficiary of three nights of the acclaimed Dinners at the Farm series to be held at Old Maid’s Farm in Glastonbury on September 10-12. Last year, for three nights in August, WLA benefited from the event at White Gate Farm in East Lyme, Connecticut. Working Lands Alliance was one of only four organizations selected as a beneficiary of Dinners at the Farm, which has been featured in Time magazine and The New York Times. Chefs Jonathan Rapp and Drew McLachlan delighted more than 140 guests each night with a feast of Connecticut grown products; the hugely popular dinners generate awareness of the vitality of the local farming community and the delicious food it provides.
The launch of BuyCTGrown.com, a Web-based source for Connecticut-grown food and farm products, was applauded by the state’s newspaper, the Hartford Courant. This interactive resource brings local food within reach at the click of a button. The Courant opined,
“whether you're looking for cheese, cilantro or Christmas trees, lobster or luscious summer fruit, this site's for you. You can plug in the name of the product you're searching for and get a map of the locations where it's sold within a certain radius of your home.”
The Courant also noted:
“The increasing popularity and obvious benefits of locally grown food may encourage policy-makers to save more farmland. You can't be a locavore without it.”
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