|MARCH 25, 2010 --
More than 200 farmers, conservationists, anti-hunger advocates, students, locavores, and others interested in farmland preservation from across Connecticut will gather for a conference hosted by the Working Lands Alliance (WLA) coalition to consider ways to improve farmland access, grow community farms and link farmland protection with economic development, smart growth and public health goals.
USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan will give the conference keynote address, with an introduction by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture.
"'Plowing Ahead' is an opportunity to take stock of our progress in farmland preservation and to harvest ideas for the next 10 years to keep Connecticut farmland producing fresh, healthy food for our citizens. Don't miss this ‘once-in-a-decade' event," said WLA Chairman Terry Jones, of Jones Family Farms in Shelton.
The conference will focus on strategies to accelerate the protection of Connecticut's remaining farms over the next 10 years while nurturing new opportunities for local farms and food. Plowing Ahead: Farmland & Preservation in 2010 & Beyond will be held on March 27 at Kroon Hall on the campus of Yale University in New Haven from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
There will be workshop offerings on policy, programs and innovative approaches to building support for protecting farms in Connecticut communities. Presenters from national conservation organizations such as American Farmland Trust and Trust for Public Land will review farmland preservation policy tools from other states.
Practitioners from local community farms in Wilton and Woodbridge will share their models of education and food production. Leaders from Vermont Land Trust, Peconic Land Trust, and the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project in Boston will discuss their innovative programs to increase farmland access for new farmers.
The conference is made possible by generous financial support from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, Connecticut Farmland Trust, Connecticut Farm Link, Connecticut Food Policy Council, Farm Credit East, The Farmer's Cow, Jones Family Farms, edible Nutmeg, Wholesome Wave, and the members of American Farmland Trust.
Additional sponsors include Connecticut Farm Bureau, Connecticut State Grange, Connecticut Forest & Park Association, Common Ground Center for Environmental Education and Leadership, Eastern CT Resources Conservation & Development Area, Inc., Halloran & Sage Governmental Affairs, KofKoff Egg Farm, and Trust for Public Land.