Enter to win a free week at summer camp! CLC is sponsoring two Columbia County residents, ages 11-to-17, to attend the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation education camps where campers connect with nature and learn outdoor skills. There are seven week-long sessions, starting on June 28, 2015 and ending August 14, 2015. This program is part of CLC’s ongoing efforts to prepare the next generation of leaders to value land conservation. Each year, CLC provides thousands of people of all ages with hands-on learning experiences at our public conservation areas and other outdoor locations around the county. Enter by March 18, 2015 by contacting Tom Crowell, 518. 392. 5252, ext. 209. On March 25, 2015, the winners will be randomly selected.
Warm days and cold nights are the perfect recipe to get the sap flowing in sugar maples across the northeast. The sugar maple has been our state’s official tree since 1956, and New York is second only to Vermont in maple sugar production in the United States. March 21-22 and 28-28, 2015 are the official Maple Weekends in New York. CLC however has an early bird treat for you – a guided tour at a local sugar bush, The Farm at Miller’s Crossing, on Saturday, March 14 at 2:00 pm. The farm owners will explain the present day gravity fed collection system, the techniques of collecting sap, and boiling the sap down to syrup. We’ll be joined by environmental educator Justin Wexler to talk about Native American traditions of maple sugaring. If last year is any indication, you will have a chance to taste the sweet syrup as it comes out of the pan! To register, click here.
CLC, in partnership with Scenic Hudson and Northeast Farm Access, LLC, protected 189 acres of working farmland on two properties of the Copake Agricultural Center, supporting a groundbreaking, investor-driven initiative to make farmland available to both young farmers and experienced farmers seeking to expand their operation. The Northeast Farm Access brings together farmers seeking long-term land security with social investors focused on the “triple bottom line” of financial, social, and environmental returns on their investment. The Copake Agricultural Center leases the protected land to three young farm families growing wholesale, market, and restaurant vegetables and flowers. Scenic Hudson provided full funding for the project, and CLC holds the conservation easements on the 186 acres of farmland, protecting them from development. Read Register Star’s coverage here.
“This project is a great example of CLC’s work to conserve farmland and help farmers obtain access to it in creative ways,” said Peter Paden, CLC’s executive director.
Entries are still being accepted for Farm Film Fest 7, an exciting annual event sponsored by CLC, the Chatham Agricultural Partnership, and the Chatham Film Club. Deadline for submissions is February 20, 2015. The festival shows films that focus on farms, farming, and farming issues, and is especially interested in films that have a local connection. Films should be from 5-20 minutes and submitted in DVD format. The Farm Fest includes films made by professional and amateur filmmakers. Students of all ages are encouraged to submit their work. DVDs can be sent to: Farm Film Fest 7, The Chatham Film Club, PO Box 305, Chatham, NY, 12037. Contact: Mary Gail Biebel, The Chatham Film Club & The Chatham Agricultural Partnership; 518 392 5108. To find out more, check our calendar, or click here.
The Festival will be on Sunday, March 15, 2015, at the historic Crandell Theatre in Chatham, NY. We hope to see you – and your entry – at the Festival!
by Peter Paden Published February 7, 2015 in the Register-Star
Last week, Governor Cuomo released his proposed 2015-16 State Budget. It contains good news for the state’s farm economy and for every New Yorker who cares about their food and where it comes from. Governor Cuomo has proposed to make the state’s largest investment ever in the permanent protection of farmland: $14 million from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund plus $20 million made specifically available for farmland protection in the Hudson Valley.
This is good news as well for all of us in Columbia County who value our farms and our farmers, our working landscape and the rural quality of life that make the county such a special place. For the Columbia Land Conservancy, which is the primary catalyst for farmland protection here, it means we can expect another year of hard work resulting, we hope, in successful applications for funding that will allow more county farm families to stabilize their land security and enhance the financial health of their businesses.
On Wednesday, January 21st, as part of his State of the State address, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a $20-million strategic initiative to protect working farms, agriculture, and related businesses in the Hudson Valley through the purchase of farmland conservation easements.
The region’s farms supply farmer’s markets locally and in the metropolitan area, but the potential is even greater, and demand for locally grown food is high. This funding for farmland protection through voluntary conservation easements supports family farm owners and keeps agriculture viable in light of increasing land prices and development pressures.
To find out more about this announcement, read proposals #16-18 of Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda. You can also read the full 2015 Opportunity Agenda policy book, see pp. 102-103. To find out more about how CLC protects farmland in Columbia County with conservation easements, check out our website.
Thanks to you, we reached our 2014 Annual Fund goal, and we made our Board’s match challenge! We raised over $100,000 in new or increased contributions to our 2014 Annual Fund.
We are grateful to have your strong support as we embark – together – on another exciting year of conservation. We truly cannot do it without you!