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Save Bragg Farm!

Across the world as development continues, small farms are at risk of extinction.  Often they become unaffordable and this growth threatens some of our last remaining open places.  We have one of these examples right here in our back yard, the Bragg Farm.

Luckily, the diligent work of land trusts are helping to protect these places and reenergize sustainable local agriculture. The Vermont Land Trust’s (VLT) conservation efforts change the lives of families, invigorate farms, launch new businesses, maintain scenic vistas, encourage outdoor recreation, and foster a renewed sense of community.

This spring, VLT is asking for you to help save Bragg Farm! The Bragg Farm has been an important part of the Mad River Valley’s agricultural landscape for more than 200 years. Perched high above the Mad River, the farm’s iconic barn, hay fields and incomparable views of the Green Mountains showcase the beauty and agricultural productivity of the Valley’s working landscape.

In 2012, the Vermont Land Trust worked with Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership to purchase the 48-acre property. VLT then searched for a new farmer through through our Farmland Access Program, which helps experienced farmers gain access to productive, affordable farmland.

Marisa Mauro was selected to purchase the farm from VLT. In 2008, Marisa started Ploughgate Creamery, which produced award-winning cheese until a fire destroyed the place she was leasing. If VLT is successful in the fundraising effort, Marisa will restart Ploughgate Creamery’s operations and establish a grass-based dairy farm that produces artisanal butter, fresh cheeses, buttermilk and suckling hogs.

Contributions will help VLT to raise the last $85,000 to protect this special Mad River Valley farm, forever!

And if you’re local to the farm, Have glass a wine and help conserve the Bragg Farm! VLT and Cork Wine Bar invite the public to an evening fundraiser on Wednesday, April 10, starting at 6 pm. $1 of every glass of wine poured will go towards the remaining $85,000 needed for the property’s protection. http://www.vlt.org/initiatives/bragg

Protecting the Bragg Hill Farm will:

  • Permanently conserve scenic and productive farmland
  • Ensure the long-term affordability of the farm to Vermont’s farmers
  • Preserve the historic barn, a treasured community landmark
  • Revitalize the Bragg Farm with a new agricultural operation

Partners collaborating on the project

The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), local conservation commissions and local land trusts are vital to raising the funds needed to protect the more than 50 properties VLT conserves each year. VHCB, the Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership, and the Town of Fayston are key partners in the Bragg Farm project.

Successes and Challenges

VLT purchased the farm using bridge financing for its appraised value of $760,000 and will sell the farm to Mauro at its appraised agricultural value of $175,000.  VTL is raising money for the conservation easement, appraised at $585,000, as well as funds to preserve the historic barn. The total fundraising goal is $792,000.

With funds already raised and additional grant support from the VHCB, only $85,000 is left to go. 

Call to Action

Make a tax-deducible gift until May 1, 2013 by sending a check to Vermont Land Trust with “Bragg Farm” in the memo line. To learn more about Bragg Farm and the Farmland Access Program, or to donate on line, go to http://www.vlt.org/initiatives/bragg

“As a farmer and Vermonter, I am so proud to be part of the Mad River Valley community. With this opportunity, I can’t wait to get to work at the Bragg Farm with my family, friends and neighbors and contribute to our working landscape.” – Marisa Mauro

Vermont Land Trust

Since 1977, VLT has permanently conserved more than 1,650 parcels of land covering more than 500,000 acres, or about eight percent of the private, undeveloped land in the state. The conserved land includes more than 700 working farms, hundreds of thousands of acres of productive forestland, and numerous parcels of community land. As a member-supported, nonprofit 501(c)(3) land conservation we provide technical and legal assistance to individuals, communities, and local land trusts to help them achieve their conservation objectives. We also have an ongoing stewardship relationship with landowners to ensure that conservation goals are upheld in perpetuity. Learn more about VLT here.

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