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Our eighth president would be proud: Van Buren Farm is protected in perpetuity

New York, NY - April 2, 2004 - Today the Open Space Institute announced the sale of 102 acres of farmland to Roxbury Farm in the town of Kinderhook, Columbia County. The deed for the property, protected in perpetuity by an agricultural easement crafted by OSI, was transferred this morning at a closing in Kinderhook. 

The Open Space Institute, a non-profit land conservation organization based in New York City, has protected more than 90,000 acres in New York State, including many working farms throughout the Hudson River Valley. Today's transaction is part of a broader effort by OSI to protect Columbia County farm fields---an increasingly rare resource in upstate New York---and ensure their continued use as working farmland. In the past half century, Columbia County has lost half of its farmland and intense development pressure continues to carve up and pave over remaining agricultural lands. The Kinderhook Creek Corridor, one of three key focal areas of OSI's Farmland Protection Program, contains some of the most fertile farm fields in New York State. 

The farmland that OSI sold to Roxbury Farm is located on Route 9H just south of Kinderhook. The property is adjacent to the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site and was part of the former President's retirement estate. The property has a history of agricultural use predating the arrival of Dutch settlers in the 17th Century. Now encumbered by a conservation easement written by the Open Space Institute, the land can and will continue to be farmed. The easement prohibits any type of non-farming subdivision and/or development. 

According to Joe Martens, President of the Open Space Institute, the bucolic Kinderhook Creek Corridor represents an opportunity to protect working farmland and celebrate a chapter of presidential history. “The Kinderhook Creek Corridor has great historic significance as the setting for President Martin Van Buren's retirement estate,” said Martens. “It's extremely rewarding to see this kind of continuity. Farmland and the farming way of life are becoming more and more of a rarity in the Hudson River Valley. But in a few places, like Kinderhook, there's a glimmer of hope,” said Martens. 

Jean Paul Courtens, the founder of Roxbury Farms, one of the most successful Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in the Hudson River Valley, has been an invaluable partner, said Martens. “He shares our passion and commitment to farmland protection and he's created a superb model for sustainable and organic agriculture,” added Martens. “Through the CSA, he is inculcating consumers from Albany all the way down to New York City with an appetite for locally grown produce and more broadly, an appreciation for the farms in upstate New York that that are still thriving, despite the odds” said Martens. 

Dan Luciano, who handled this morning's closing, said that OSI's Kinderhook program first got underway in 1999. “Since then we have protected nearly 700 acres in the historic Kinderhook Creek Corridor. Our long term plan is to protect at least 850 acres and we are working against the clock to realize that goal,” said Luciano.

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