Eden Farmland Protection Program

Eden Farmland Protection Committee

Eden Farmland Protection Committee

The Eden Valley has long been known for its fresh market vegetable and greenhouse flower farms. The productive fields that spread outward from the Route 62 are a visitor’s introduction to Eden’s rich agricultural history. In addition to vegetable farms, Eden is also home to dairy farms and a mixture of other farms including fruit, Christmas tree, horse, and a variety of livestock. Throughout the years, there has been interest in ensuring that the land that helps to sustain these farms be protected.  Town government, the Conservation Advisory Committee, the Agriculture Advisory Committee, farmers, and numerous individuals drafted local laws and developed a master plan which later included an agricultural and farmland protection plan, all with the goal of supporting the town’s farms and protecting its farmland. In addition to these efforts, there are a number of multi-generation farms that have served to anchor agriculture in Eden.

Throughout the years, there has been interest in ensuring that the land that helps to sustain these farms be protected.  Town government, the Conservation Advisory Committee, the Agriculture Advisory Committee, farmers, and numerous individuals drafted local laws and developed a master plan which later included an agricultural and farmland protection plan, all with the goal of supporting the town’s farms and protecting its farmland. In addition to these efforts, there are a number of multi-generation farms that have served to anchor agriculture in Eden.

Recent Successes

In 2012 and 2014, spurred by discussions during the development of the Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, and with the donation of critical private funds to leverage federal funding, the Surgenor and Meyer Farms were permanently protected from development and will be available for farming forever. Since their protection, each of these 100-acre farms has been transitioned to the next generation of farmers who will continue to work the land. The permanent protection of these two farms has been the catalyst for interest in protecting other farms in Eden.

triple-oak-farms_1

John and Ken Kappus of Triple Oak Farms

In 2016, the Land Conservancy was awarded two Farmland Protection Implementation Grants from New York State to permanently protect two more family farms in the Town of Eden. Thanks to this funding and the support of the Town of Eden and many other partners, the 149-acre D&J Brawdy Farms and the 312-acre Triple Oak Farms will be permanently protected!

Ongoing work

In 2013, private donations enabled the Town of Eden to enter into an agreement with the Western New York Land Conservancy to begin an active farmland protection program. A Town Board appointed Farmland Protection Committee was charged with the mission to strive to protect farmland and keep it available for agriculture in order to support the viability of local farms and maintain the rural character of the Town of Eden.

After ten years of working for American Farmland Trust, Diane Held is now the Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County and is also assisting the Western New York Land Conservancy with the farmland protection program in Eden. Diane believes in keeping farmland available for agriculture since “no one can predict what the world will look like in 100 years or exactly what land and food needs we will have. The best that we can do for future generations is to responsibly balance our use of farmland today while protecting our valuable land resources in order to provide for our food, fiber, and energy needs in the future.”

Surgenor Eden

The Surgenor Farm was the first farm the Land Conservancy helped protect in Eden.