Many, many thanks for your supportive message and for the forwarding to new
contacts. A good number of SAN responses came to my personal e-mail address,
including referrals to FarmLink, Chuck Matthei, and others. I am following up
on these but I believe your credentials will be very helpful in generating
My last exchange with Douglas Hinds (May 15) was not posted to SANet because
it got pretty long, he has a lot to say and so do I. Perhaps I'll extract
some of the paragraphs and post them for all.
In answer to your question, the farm that used to be our family farm is in
South Hero, Vermont, on an island in Lake Champlain. The island location
does not mean remoteness. The farm fronts on US Route 2 which is a major
tourist route - 10 years ago there were 5,000 cars a day in summer, now it may
be 8,000. The farm is a 20 minute drive from Burlington, which is the state's
largest city and home to a number of colleges and the University of Vermont,
whence came the majority of our apprentices.
The Town of South Hero now has its own Land Trust, created shortly after our
farm was taken over by would-be subdividers. Just in case the latter change
their minds, I wrote up a one-page list of reasons why this particular farm
should be preserved as a working farm - large historic farmhouse, quite good
soils, whole farm certification, south facing slopes, long growing season,
ideal location for direct sales, etc. etc.
Meanwhile, I'm trying to find out how to identify other farms that are "at
risk" before they go to auction, in which case they often end up as vacation
homes for wealthy bidders - this happened to five farms on one road in one
small Vermont town - all five had previously sold their development rights,
otherwise they might have been purchased by developers. (Yes, purchasing
development rights is a Good Thing, these farms could become farms again some
day. Every farm that remains undeveloped, for whatever reason, offers hope
for the future.)
Will keep in touch,
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