News

Young farmers call historic farm home

SARATOGA NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, STILLWATER, NY— September 28, 2011 — The Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) and Saratoga National Historical Park have launched a public fundraising campaign to help OSI protect the historic Quincy Farm and allow a young couple to pursue their agricultural dream.

Quincy Farm (previously known as Battleview Farm) is 49 acres of rich farmland along the Hudson River and across from the Saratoga National Historical Park, the site where the Americans defeated the British in the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Saratoga. Owned for more than two centuries by the Wright family, it has been in continuous agricultural production since 1777 and is now being cultivated by a new generation of farmers, Luke Deikis and Cara Fraver.

OSI, through its land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, acquired the farm from the Wright family in November 2010 and sold it to Deikis and Fraver in April of this year.

Luke and Cara are enthusiastic vegetable farmers in their early 30s who represent a growing number of people who want to get started in agriculture and need good, affordable farmland. After searching four years for a place of their own and apprenticing at two farms downstate, they found Quincy Farm, a perfect fit for their dream to start a vegetable operation. Upon finding the farm, they asked OSI for some creative help.

Before acquiring the property, OSI enlisted ASA, an organization that helps farmers protect agricultural land to ensure a future for farming in the region. ASA acted as a local partner to help make the farm affordable for Luke and Cara, who, now in their first season of production, are already selling produce at the Ballston Spa, Schenectady and Glens Falls farmer's markets.

ASA took on half the cost of acquiring a conservation easement on Quincy Farm and has secured nearly 70 percent of its funding share from the Castanea Foundation and Pew Charitable Trust. A local donor has also pledged one dollar for every three raised in the public campaign.

Quincy Farm’s rolling open fields are part of a larger agricultural landscape in the Saratoga National Historic Park region that is largely unchanged since the Revolutionary War. Providing important historical context for visitors to the Battlefield, the agricultural lands along the Hudson also provide critical habitat for a diversity of wildlife.

Permanent preservation of the Quincy Farm had been particularly important to the U.S. Park Service, which is about a third of the way toward its goal of protecting 16,000 acres in the Battlefield viewshed.

OSI has helped the Park Service protect land in the viewshed for two decades. Some of its most notable achievements include the acquisition of a conservation easement on the nearly 900-acre Allenwaite Dairy Farm in 1997, a 2005 easement on 380 acres of the Saratoga Sod Farm and the 2006 acquisition of the historic Sword Surrender site.

To date, ASA has also helped protect 11,970 acres on 82 properties in Washington and Rensselaer counties. For more information on ASA’s efforts and the Quincy fundraising initiative, go to www.agstewardship.org.

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