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Recipe for a Healthy Connecticut

Three new solutions boost nature and local food production.

But the fact is that everything you eat… depends upon healthy lands and waters.

In a day and age when many of us ‘harvest’ our meals by filling a grocery cart or skimming a menu, it is easy to overlook nature’s role in putting food on the table. But the fact is that everything you eat—from juicy heirloom tomatoes, to oysters on the half shell, to your favorite veggie or beef burger—depends upon healthy lands and waters. Here’s a snapshot of how you helped The Nature Conservancy bring together fishermen, farmers and scientists this year to answer important questions about the future of food in Connecticut.

Your donation helps the Conservancy improve the sustainability of Connecticut’s fields and oceans.
  1. Keeping Farmland Working
    Can Connecticut’s fertile grasslands benefit farmers, consumers and wildlife? When the Conservancy received a donation of 1,850 acres in New Milford and Bridgewater in the 1970s, we saw a chance to protect these lands for nature while ensuring they continued to supply fresh local food to nearby communities. Today, four farms at Sunny Valley are leased to farmers committed to nature-friendly practices.

    This year, your support helped us welcome a fifth farmer: 19-year-old Felice Martin.
  2. Rescuing Lost Shellfish Habitats
    Can we rebuild depleted shellfish beds while still enjoying oysters, scallops and clams? With your help, the Conservancy is taking action across Long Island Sound to revive wild shellfish populations, while also working with shellfish farmers to develop innovative methods of harvesting.

    Your support this year allowed the Conservancy to continue restoring clams and bay scallops to Great South Bay.
  3. Solving an Eelgrass Mystery
    Can we bring back the eelgrass beds that sustain our fisheries? The Northeast coast was once fringed with softly swaying eelgrass that sheltered baby scallops and flounder, which in turn supported local fisheries. But in 1931, a parasitic slime fungus killed off as much as 90 percent of some populations.

    With your support, the Conservancy this year launched a project to study the genetic diversity of eelgrass in order to address the reasons behind its decline and bring back this important nursery habitat.

The next time you pick up your fork, think about where your food comes from, and help us create more sustainable farming, fishing and shellfishing practices in Connecticut in 2012.

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