The Working Lands Alliance announced its selections for the 2014 Farmland Preservation Pathfinder Awards at our Annual Meeting on November 18th.
WLA honored George Hindinger, Wintonbury Land Trust, and the UConn Extension Agriculture Team with this year’s Pathfinder Awards for their work in advancing farmland preservation through leadership, advocacy, planning, and education.
WLA chair Terry Jones said, “This year’s Pathfinder Award winners remind us how important it is to protect farmland and support agriculture throughout our state – in urban, suburban and rural areas. Their impressive collection of work directly impacts the lives of people in a diverse set of communities in Connecticut, and ensures that our farmland remains in farming. Working Lands Alliance is proud to recognize their hard work and dedication with these awards today.”
Join us in congratulating this year’s awardees:
George Hindinger owns and operates Hindinger Farm with his family. One of the first protected farms in the state, Hindinger Farm demonstrates how protected farms can be assets to their communities.
George also served as Chairman of the Farmland Preservation Advisory Board from its inception in 2007 until 2014. Under his leadership, the Advisory Board reviewed and ranked seven state-owned parcels of land that had the potential to be protected for agriculture. This important work led to the permanent protection of the highest priority parcel – more than 900 acres of farmland at Southbury Training School. This groundbreaking legislation will provide a pathway to protect other state-owned farmland in the future.
Finally, George’s numerous leadership roles in agriculture include serving as: a member of the Governor’s Council for Agricultural Development; First Vice-President of the CT Farm Bureau; and President of the New Haven Farm Bureau.
Wintonbury Land Trust stands out for its much-needed efforts to preserve farmland and build support for agriculture in the Bloomfield-Windsor area.
Wintonbury Land Trust proactively reached out to owners of farmland in Bloomfield, worked to educate town officials about the importance of farmland protection, and helped get protected farmland in production. Their efforts restored 12 acres of farmland at Thrall Farm and its historic barn, bringing it into production for a CSA.
This year, WLT completed the preservation of Lisa Lane Farm – a 10-acre urban farm on the Bloomfield-Windsor-Hartford line. For this project they secured funding from DEEP, NRCS, and the Town and will pursue grant funds to improve the farm infrastructure.
UConn Extension’s Agriculture Team consistently provides needed outreach, expertise, and knowledge to producers, giving them the tools to enhance their agricultural operations.
Their programs address issues across the spectrum of agriculture: the needs of beginning farmers; increasing demand for CT-grown food and products; improving agricultural business planning; educating producers on sustainable methods of pest management and nutrient management; and addressing farm risk management and food safety.
This year marks the centennial for UConn Extension, whose work is vital to ensuring that our working lands remain in agriculture.
Established in 2003, these prestigious awards are designed to recognize individuals and groups that have significantly advanced farmland preservation through leadership, advocacy, planning, and education. Award winners over the last ten years have included municipalities, land trusts, farmers, town committees, and many individuals and groups who have logged countless hours in the name of preserving Connecticut’s most valuable resource – our farmland.