A new fundraising campaign is underway in the Upper Delaware River region to permanently protect Apple Pond Farm, 81 acres in Callicoon Center, Sullivan County, New York.
Landowners Dick Riseling and Sonja Hedlund have made the important decision to protect the property with a conservation easement with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. Dick and Sonja will continue to own the farm, and the land will remain affordable for future farmers—forever. When Dick and Sonja decide to retire or sell, the conservation easement will ensure that no matter who owns the property in the future, it will remain as a farm—providing fresh, healthy food to the community and supporting a strong and stable local economy.
With matching grant funding provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the fundraising campaign seeks to raise $50,000 to cover the remaining costs of the project. To learn more about the project and its associated costs, or to make a tax-deductible gift to help protect Apple Pond Farm, visit http://www.conservewith.us/ApplePond.
The property has been actively farmed since 1865 and is a prominent fixture in the local community. In addition to producing food and fiber, Apple Pond Farm operates as an educational center, working with local schools to educate kids about farming, renewable energy, and energy efficiency through hands-on interactive activities, and hosts an apprenticeship program, teaching new and beginning farmers how to sustainably operate an agricultural business. The farm boasts multiple renewable energy sources and is home to the Renewable Energy Education Center.
The fundraising campaign for Apple Pond Farm is supported by a new crowdfunding platform specifically for land conservation projects, Conserve With Us.
“We’re excited by this new partnership with Conserve With Us. It’s giving members of our community the opportunity to directly invest in the future of a farm that means so much to all of us,” said Diane Rosencrance, Executive Director of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy. “Apple Pond Farm is a cornerstone of our local community and an important part of our shared history in the Upper Delaware, and by working together to protect it, we’re continuing that legacy for future generations.”
According to Ian Rinehart, co-founder of Conserve With Us, “About every three days, we lose land the size of Manhattan to development. Fortunately, thousands of land trusts across the country, such as Delaware Highlands Conservancy, are working every day to protect the places we love before they’re lost. But land trusts can’t do it alone — they need all of us to get involved. We started Conserve With Us to help connect many more Americans with the vital work being done by land trusts to protect and conserve the outdoor places where we live, work and play.”
Matching grant funding to conserve Apple Pond Farm has been provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)’s Delaware River Watershed Working Lands Regional Conservation Partnership Program, a collaborative conservation initiative between local conservation partners and NRCS. This funding comes from the initiative’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP).