Preserving Our Farmlands

Posted on by Donna Drewes, Sustainable Jersey

Chefs to serve up a feast for farm to table fundraiser

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New Jersey’s farmlands are the foundation for a strong agricultural industry and a way of life for generations of farm families.

Scenic landscapes of green and productive fields are an important part of what makes New Jersey a desirable place to live and work.

Farmland preservation clearly is an important investment in our economy, our farming heritage and the overall quality of life for each and every New Jerseyan.

When West Windsor Township was incorporated in 1797 farming was the Township’s main economic driver.  During World War II, farmers in West Windsor were producing tomatoes for Campbell’s factory in Camden as well as milk, which was sent to Trenton. In the 1960’s, 65% of the Township was still being actively farmed.  But, during the 1970’s and 1980’s West Windsor underwent significant residential development, with many farmers selling their land to developers as they were retiring or simply could no longer afford the rising production costs and decreasing income. This same scenario happened to farms across New Jersey.

Although West Windsor has been steadily losing its farmland, Township officials, the Agricultural Advisory Committee (AAC) and the Environmental Commission have been working to preserve farmland and developed a Farmland Preservation Plan Element.   Sustainable Jersey, a non-profit municipal certification program, awards certification points for towns that complete a Farmland Preservation Plan.  This is an example of one of Sustainable Jersey’s Food Actions that also include Buy Fresh Buy Local programs and support for local farmers markets and community gardens that all contribute to building a sustainable food system in New Jersey.

Fifteen Sustainable Jersey certified towns have completed the Farmland Preservation Plan action including: Bernards Twp., Bethlehem Twp., Chester Twp., Franklin Twp., Greenwich Twp., Hillsborough Twp., Hope Twp., Hopewell Twp., Lower Alloways Creek Twp. , Marlboro Twp., Montgomery Twp., Readington Twp., Union Twp., West Amwell Twp., and West Windsor Twp.  You can access these plans from the Sustainable Jersey website in the Participating Communities section.

Farmland preservation is a means of ensuring that agricultural lands are preserved forever for agricultural use. Landowners sell their “development rights” but retain ownership of their property. Preserved farmland limits urban sprawl, protects our water and soils, provides us with an abundance of locally grown farm products, and maintains our connection to the land and the longstanding agricultural traditions that earned our reputation as the Garden State.

Get Your Tickets for the Farm to Table Sustainable Jersey Fundraiser on July 25

The Chair of the Sustainable Jersey Board of Trustees, Pam Mount, is also the owner of Terhune Orchards in Princeton.  Terhune Orchards is hosting the second annual Sustainable Fare for Sustainable Jersey fundraiser on July 25. Pam has organized an incredible night. Guests will enjoy a seven-course meal with wine pairings, cocktails, and music by the Riverside Band in the Terhune barn that was built by the Amish.  Renowned area chefs will come together to celebrate the farm to table movement and promote awareness about sustainability efforts while raising money for Sustainable Jersey.

Chefs who have generously volunteered their time for the event include: Christopher Albrecht  of Eno Terra, Scott Anderson of Elements and Mistral, Aaron Philipson of the Blue Bottle Cafe, Jonathan Benno of the Lincoln Ristorante, Josh Thomsen of Agricola, Christine Merker of Meals For Reals, and Gabby Carbone from the Bent Spoon. Advanced Solar Products, Inc. is a sponsor of the event.

“Sustainable Jersey has played a critical role in the progress many towns across the Garden State have made in advancing environmental stewardship and healthy communities,” said Pam Mount, owner of Terhune Orchards. “The night will be a great celebration of local food and wonderful chefs who are known for their dedication to focusing on fresh local ingredients. Last year the event was a big hit and we are looking forward to an even bigger event this year.”

Will you join us?  Watch the preview video to meet the chefs and then reserve your ticket as seats are limited.

Video: Sustainable Fare for Sustainable Jersey: Meet the Chefs for the Farm to Table Fundraiser!

Reserve your ticket.

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Photos provided by Sustainable Jersey

Sustainable Jersey staff and partners are regular contributors to the Dodge blog

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