For immediate release: December 21, 2015
Fairlee—Farmers Danielle Allen and Ben Dana conserved 28 acres of excellent farmland along the Connecticut River, the Vermont Land Trust announced today.
At Root 5 Farm, Danielle and Ben grow certified organic vegetables. Their fields have top-quality sandy loam soil, perfect for growing produce. The couple stewards their soil with care by amending it with compost, rotating crops, and planting cover crops.
"It's an honor to be able to farm on these soils and it's important to us to preserve this as a working farm for future generations,” said Danielle. “It's not every day that you have the opportunity to effect the future in such a positive way!"
The conservation of the farmland will ensure that it is always available and affordable for farmers. The productive soils will forever be protected from development.
“Ben and Danielle certainly found an extraordinary piece of land to farm,” said Bob Linck of the Vermont Land Trust. “When you observe their enthusiasm, farming know-how, and marketing skills, this is quite a match. It has been a pleasure to work with them.”
Root 5 Farm provides food to the community at three farmers’ markets, nine local markets and restaurants, and through CSA shares from May to December. The farm participates in Vermont Farm Share Program and donates extra food to Willing Hands and the Bradford Senior Center.
A third of a mile of Connecticut River frontage lies along the property’s border. Further protections will ensure that the riverbank remains naturally vegetated. This will help stabilize the river’s edge against erosion and flooding.
Danielle and Ben first decided to conserve their farm when they purchased it in 2013 from Kevin and Laura Channell. They knew that selling the development rights (through a legal tool called a conservation easement) would lessen the debt load of owning a farm for the first time, making the original purchase possible.
"Conserving the land allows us the chance to invest in our farm business to improve our operations,” added Danielle. “We're proud to continue working on the land and growing healthy food for our community."
The Vermont Land Trust is grateful to the funders who made this conservation project possible. Funding came from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Forrest & Frances Lattner Foundation.