Around the State: Our Recent Work

mossy rocks and stream flowing through woods

With your help, we support farms that grow local food, forests, clean air and water, places to hike and ski. Learn about our successes from December 2020 to May 2021.

  • protected nearly 1,700 acres of farmland and 4,200 acres of woodland
  • helped secure 2,860 acres for community use and recreation
  • supported 8 farm ownership transitions
  • protected 180 acres of wetlands and 23 miles along streams and rivers
  • initiated clean-water projects on 7 farms
  • offered 65+ garden plots to community members
  • planted 7,500+ trees with farmers and 130 volunteers
  • improved 21 acres of bird habitat
  • initiated restoration of floodplain forest on 22 acres

A shout out to all the community members, landowners, and partners who work with us to conserve Vermont’s landscape! We could not do this without you.

Southern Vermont

sunshine glinting on birch trees and evergreens in snowy woodsAndover: VLT received a generous gift of land from the Kohler family in 2019. After assessing the parcel’s natural resources, including managed timber headwater streams, and wetlands, VLT developed a conservation plan and sold the protected land to Elliott Stewart in April 2021. The 450+ acre parcel includes a portion of Markham Mountain’s ridge, with a high point of nearly 2,500 feet.

 

trail through trees - new trail in DummerstonDummerston: The ambitious ‘Missing Links’ project aims to connect Prospect Hill to the extended trail system along the Putney Mountain–Windmill Ridge. In 2020, the Putney Mountain Association, working together with VLT, was able to buy and protect two adjacent properties through which the trail will run. The same summer, volunteers worked on two loops of new trail, one climbing through the hardwood forest, the other going south. Trail building is set to resume in 2021, with the goal of completing the full trail to Prospect Hill by fall 2021. Supported by VHCB, Fields Pond Foundation, and Davis Conservation Foundation, as well as more than 200 individuals. Learn more.

stream in sunny valley with hills in distance

Pawlet: A beautiful section of the Mettowee River flows across Peter Helmetag’s 70+ acre sheep farm. Here the river tends to flood, and the banks are susceptible to invasive plant species that can out-strip native trees and shrubs. In managing his farm, Peter strives to promote clean water, manage the sheep’s grazing needs, and favor native hardwood species along the river. The Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District is partnering in this effort, including planting and maintaining a wooded buffer along the river that can reduce the impact of flooding, bring shade, and stabilize banks. Peter’s farm was permanently protected with VLT in April 2021. Supported by Lookout Foundation and other private foundations.

autumn leaves on rocky ledgeSandgate: In December 2020, The Nature Conservancy conserved nearly 115 acres that had been donated to them. The mostly wooded land is in a remote part of the Taconic Mountains. The good Taconic soils benefit the sugar maples, red maples, as well as birch and beech trees growing there, and wetlands and streams are protected with wooded buffers. 

 

pasture with open wetland, and trees in distanceSharon: Wilfred Moore conserved the Fales Farm in December 2020. The mostly-forested land is adjacent to the White River Wildlife Management Area, and has wetlands and streams that feed the White River. Established in 1795, the Fales Farm supported many generations and numerous forms of agriculture, from subsistence farming to dairy, livestock, forage, and sugaring.

 

Sudbury, Orwell: The Lemon Fair River flows through a farm owned by the Tupper family and leased to a pasture-based, organic dairy. Protecting the water from runoff and cows seeking relief on warm days had been a financial and logistical challenge. But thanks to a collaboration among many partners, the farm has implemented many water-quality improvements that will help reduce phosphorus levels in Lake Champlain and support a small farm through conservation. Supported by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS), Vermont Agency of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and many others.

pasture and farmlandWeathersfield: Beth Hunton and Brian Bosenberg are farming northern-hearty wine grapes on a portion of their 260+ acres and also stewarding wooded areas that are important for wildlife, including the Northern Long-eared bat. Their land is home to wetlands and several streams that flow into the Black River. To support water quality, they are maintaining a 50-foot wooded area along the edges of streams and wetlands. In December 2020, Beth and Brian conserved this land with VLT.

 

 

Central Vermont

Barre Town: Matt Systo and Kim Rich’s Old Soul Farm is especially popular in the summer when customers throng to their farm store and attracts. VLT’s Farmland Access Program has been working with Kim and Matt for a few years to help expand their vegetable, berry, and poultry operation. In February 2021, VLT purchased 34 acres from the adjacent Lambert farm and began leasing it to Kim and Matt, with a goal of supporting their effort to buy the conserved land in the future. Supported by VLT’s Farmland Futures Fund.

 

mossy rocks and stream flowing through woodsMarshfield: More than 2,000 acres of working forest, known as Hardwood Mountain, abuts Groton State Forest along 3 miles of shared boundary. New Leaf Tree Syrups stewards these woods, also tapping maples and birches for syrup. In March 2021, they partnered with VLT and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation to protect the land. The land will be open for pedestrian recreation. Supported by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program.

 

farm fields with hills in distance and clouds in sky - Morristown VermontMorristown: After decades of renting farmland, Jesse and Marlene Hursh bought their first farm in April 2021. The Valcour family protected the 175-acre property and sold it to the Hurshes. The Hurshes have rented a dairy farm and operated a popular farm stand on the other side of town for over 20 years. They grow corn and cover crops and raise young cattle. The land also supports a heron rookery and ski trails. Supported by the Stowe Land Trust and VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS).

 

Tunbridge: Many dairy farms in Vermont are being transformed, among which is a 200+ acre farm in Tunbridge. When Ann and Corey Chapman decided it was time to sell the farm, a group of farmers and community members approached VLT with an expansive vision—the White River Land Collaborative is working to establish a community space that supports agriculture, community gatherings, solar energy, trails, educational activities, and more. In May 2021, VLT bought the farm and will lease it to the Collaborative as they take steps towards community ownership. Supported by VLT’s Farmland Futures Fund.

 

 

Northeast Kingdom

Danville: Australian Lowline Angus enjoy the pastures at Four Town Lowlines in North Danville. They’re the key to Jake Boudreau’s grass-fed beef operation focused on regenerative agriculture practices. The farm was a dairy until 2015, when Jake’s grandfather, Roy Patterson, sold his milking herd. In February 2021, Roy added nearly 100 acres to the operation and conserved the entire 134-acre farm, enabling Jake to expand and strengthen his enterprise. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

wetlands with dead wood and woods all around - Sutton VermontSutton: Streams, wetlands, and woods make Carol and Paul Brouha’s 500+ acre property important for wildlife, as does a vernal pool. About two feet deep in the center, the pool provides exceptional breeding habitat for wood frogs, mole salamanders, and fairy shrimp in the spring. Paul and Carol protected their parcel with VLT in December 2020. The land is adjacent to a 400+ acre wildlife management area managed by Vermont’s Fish & Wildlife Department.

Westfield, Troy: Karen and Pat O’Donnell worked with VLT to plant 4,000 trees along the Missisquoi River, Taft Brook, and Mill Brook on their farm. Supported by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources Conservation Service. 

man and woman smiling at camera, standing in barnyard - Wheelock VermontWheelock: When farmers Mark and Kerry Drown got married, they knew a joint farming venture was in their future. They settled in VT’s Northeast Kingdom, with a mission to bring wholesome, affordable food to the entire community. With support from VLT and the Freeman Foundation, the couple purchased and conserved their 300-acre farm in Wheelock in April 2021. They produce raw milk, cage-free eggs and poultry, grass-fed beef, and vegetables. Supported by the Freeman Foundation.

 

Champlain Valley

woman, man, and daughter hugging each other in their farm fields - Bridport VermontBridport: For eight years, Jessie and Gregory Witscher of Understory Farm grew 75 types of flowers, offered CSAs, sold at farmers’ markets and to wholesale buyers—all from leased land. With support from VLT’s Farmland Access program, in February 2021 they were able to buy a farm that became available when organic pioneer Ben Gleason retired. Supported by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS). 

Bridport: Karen and Clarence Deering retired from dairy farming and sold their 400+ acre farm to Vermont’s Fish & Wildlife Department in 2020, to be added to the Lemon Fair Wildlife Management Area. Restored wetlands and grasslands will provide habitat for wildlife, while protecting the Lemon Fair River from pollution and degradation. The project is part of the state’s initiative to improve water quality in Lake Champlain through land use changes. It also improves recreation access to the land. The land was conserved with VLT in March 2021. Supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, VHCB, and Vermont Duck Stamps.

Charlotte: Beginning farmers Katie Rose Leonard and Bryan Seward had been looking for land to start their farm for many years. John and Carol Snow were looking to sell their farm. In March 2021, the Snows conserved their land and then sold it to Katie Rose and Bryan. With many years of farm experience, Katie Rose has begun the 2021 season with vegetables, flowers, and herbs that customers can buy through a CSA or an on-farm store. Supported by the Charlotte Land Trust, the Town of Charlotte, and VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS).

Charlotte: Volunteers helped plant 800 trees along a stream that flows into the LaPlatte River at Nordic Farms. Supported by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Land Trust Grant Program and the Vermont Habitat Stamp Fund. 

Charlotte: In 2001, VLT helped protect a popular 50+ acre berry farm. When the owners were ready to sell their land nearly 20 years later, VLT stepped in to support new and beginning farmers onto the land. In March 2021, VLT purchased the Charlotte Berry Farm and began a 3-5 year lease, with an option to purchase, with Jane Engelman and her husband Dan. Over the next few months, Jane and Dan established Sweet Roots Farm on the property, producing berries, vegetables and other fruits and operating a farmstand. Supported by VLT’s Farmland Futures Fund.

ferns bordering a stream and woods on the other bank - Cornwall VermontCornwall: Cheryl and Marc Cesario bought their first farm in 2009 and expanded their footprint in 2016. In March 2021 they added 125 conserved acres, which will enable them to grow their business. The parcel includes excellent farm soils, woods, and wetlands. Meeting Place Pastures is an innovative business offering grazing services for cattle, both dairy heifers and beef. Marc and Cheryl also graze their own sheep flock along with the cattle. Supported by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS).

distant view of barnyard and pasture with hills in background - Fletcher VermontFletcher: In March 2021, Hannah and John Doyle of Boneyard Farm bought their conserved ‘forever’ farm. They were able to move their operation to the spacious new location in Fletcher, with help from VLT and the farm’s previous owners, the King family, who wanted to pass the land on to young farmers. Hannah and John produce pork, chicken, eggs, and vegetables, and make jams and chutneys which they’re selling at their farmstand and farmers’ markets during the 2021 season. Supported by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS).

Franklin, Highgate: VLT worked with AmeriCorps volunteers to plant 630 trees along Bullis Pond and the Rock River on Wayne and Nancy Fiske’s farm. Supported by the Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District.

Huntington: The Brewster Pierce Memorial School has been growing an innovative outdoor education program on a forest right next door. When the parcel was going to be sold, the community worked with The Trust for Public Land and VLT to keep it open for students and the public. In March 2021, the 245 acres were protected to create the Huntington Community Forest. With frontage on the Huntington River, the land has open fields, forest, wetlands, headwater streams, and an existing trail network, including access from the village. Supported by the Town of Huntington, VHCB, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the federal Community Forest and Open Space Fund, and many individuals and private foundations.

Jericho: Volunteers helped plant 1,600 trees along the Winooski River and Mill Brook on Jericho Settlers Farm. Supported by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Friends of the Winooski River, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation’s New England Forests & Rivers Fund, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program.

river bank with trees on either side - Richmond VermontRichmond: Farmers Christa Alexander and Mark Fasching run Jericho Settlers Farm—an organic farm producing vegetables, meat, and eggs, which they sell through CSA shares and local markets. In March 2021, they added 68 acres to their operation, thanks to the Peet family who conserved the land before selling it. The prime agricultural property flanks the village of Richmond on two sides, and includes 1,000 feet of wooded land along the Winooski River as it winds its way to Lake Champlain. Supported by the Vermont Community Foundation.

Starksboro: Eric and Jane Clifford have run a dairy farm for decades. In 2019, they protected nearly 200 acres, including nearly a mile along both sides of Lewis Creek. In March 2021, they conserved another 300+ acres, include 100 acres of sugarbush. They feel conserving the farm is an important first step of their succession plan because it will allow them to sell the farm at a more affordable price. Supported by VHCB (with matching funds from USDA-NRCS).

South Burlington: Volunteers helped 750 trees along Muddy Brook at Bread & Butter Farm. Supported by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program.