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Around The Grange
Governor, Dept. of Ag, WLA, recognize Granby Farmers

By NRCS Garden News (1/1/2011)

  JANUARY 9, 2011 --

They are no strangers to the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and now they are no strangers to two of Connecticut’s leaders. On a beautiful fall day in November, Alan and Becky Clark were given high praise and good wishes by Governor M. Jodi Rell and Department of Agriculture Commissioner Philip Prelli at the 10th Annual Working Lands Alliance Meeting, held at the State Capitol in Hartford.

Because their inspirational story is the embodiment of the Working Lands Alliance’s mission, Becky Clark was tagged to be the Keynote Speaker for the event. She told the story of how she and Alan began farming 17 years ago – part-time growing flowers, pumpkins, and corn stalks, and of her continuing wish to be a full-time farmer.

She talked about how four years ago she began to raise goats for milk and cheese, how that led her and a close friend into the soap making business, and how the success of that venture enabled her to give up her day job. And she spoke about how she and Alan continued to dream of expanding.

Clark recounted how things then just sort of fell into place; about how Bushy Hill Orchard, which had been family owned and operated for many years, had come up for sale; how through the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Farmland Preservation Program, the NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, the Town of Granby, and the Granby Land Trust, an easement had been purchased for the orchard’s development rights. All of these things coming to fruition enabled the land to be sold at agricultural value … meaning they could afford it.

Clark proudly spoke about their 40 acres of orchards that includes apples, peaches, pears, raspberries, and blueberries; their five acres of vegetables; their commercial kitchen, farm store, and cider mill; and about 40 acres of prime Connecticut Valley soils.

The Clarks are grateful for the efforts put forth by the partnership to protect this beautiful farmland – enabling them to realize their dream.

Governor Rell and Commissioner Prelli wished the Clarks all the best in their new endeavor – and the staff of NRCS echoes that sentiment.


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