Four groups announced today that one of the East Bay’s most iconic coastal farms and vantage points was preserved thanks to a multi-million dollar land transaction. Ferolbink Farm, a 179-acre property adjacent to Fogland Marsh and the Sakonnet River, will remain an active farm but 126.7 acres will not be allowed to be developed. Additionally, 13 acres of the property were acquired by one group to restore the shoreline along the river and marsh.
Ferolbink Farm is one of six remaining commercial potato farms in Rhode Island and one of over 1,200 farms across the state. About the project, Kenneth Ayers, Chief of the Division of Agriculture for the State of Rhode Island said, “Land protection helps preserve a vital industry in Rhode Island: agriculture. The fact that these acres are protected means there will be an additional base of farmland that will be forever available to grow crops, important given our growing need to produce food locally.” The farm is also part of a new cooperative supported by the Division of Agriculture to market locally raised potatoes as “RI Royal Potatoes.’
This $4 millon project was completed thanks to a partnership of groups that worked together over the years with the owners, the Jason Peckham family. “We owe the entire conservation community, the people of Tiverton, and of course the Peckham family great thanks for working together for so long with us to see this critical property conserved forever,” said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Michael Sullivan. The DEM contributed $1.1 million as part of its farmland preservation program, while the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Natural Resource Conservation Service, contributed $1.92 million.
The Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island will own the 13-acre tract, and worked with the Champlin Foundations, the Tiverton Land Trust, and the Little Compton Agricultural Conservancy Trust to bring nearly $1 million in private donations to the transaction. “The Nature Conservancy has been working to protect Fogland Marsh since our first acquisition there in 1967,” said Janet Coit, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Rhode Island. “As a signature project of our Campaign for the Sakonnet Landscape we owe our thanks to more than 100 supporters from Tiverton and Little Compton who helped save this farm.”
Ferolbink Farm is best known as a potato farm providing views to passers-by on Route 77. Owner Jason Peckham built the farm operation by assembling nearby farms with one that had been passed down in his family. The adjacent marsh and tidal creek are an important refuge for birds, an important buffer against storms and nursery areas for juvenile fish and other fauna. The Nature Conservancy will restore the native vegetation along Almy Creek, reducing nutrient flows into the estuary that can cause harmful algae blooms.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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