THE WARREN CONSERVATOR Spring 2011

Agriculture in Warren: Past, Current and Future

As we reported in the Fall 2010 issue, the Warren Land Trust is in the process of seeking accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission (“LTAC”). Accreditation will demonstrate to the public and our peers that our organization meets the highest standards in land conservation. Upon accreditation, we will join a small and prestigious group; thus far only two land trusts in Connecticut have been accredited.As a first step of this process, we thoroughly reviewed the “Land Trust Standards and Practices” established by the LTAC. These are rigorous guidelines directed to both Organization Strength (including mission, compliance with laws, and board accountability) and Land Transactions (such as, evaluating and selecting projects, ensuring sound transactions, and stewardship). On December 18, 2010, the Warren Land Trust voted unanimously to adopt these Standards and Practices.We have now initiated a comparative assessment of our current policies and procedures with the adopted Standards The Town of Warren has a long history of engagement in agriculture, and looking back one can see how the ways of the past are now being used today. There is a resurgence of smaller farms looking to grow products that are fresh and local. Agriculture in our town has ranged from harvesting woodlands to make charcoal during the revolutionary war, to the long and colorful history of our dairy farms, to the culturing of grapes for the production of wine.Many of the farms in years past were diversified and produced different products which the farmers used for their families. Excess was sold or traded locally. The farms were complete systems; they were nearly self-sustainable. The animals ate in the pasture while they fertilized the fields. Out of necessity there was an understanding and respect for the basic principles of agriculture. As time progressed farmers began to use fertilizers and other petroleum-based products. Today we are starting to realize how these techniques are not sustainable. As a result the farming community is moving towards providing fruits, berries, meats, vegetables and other sustainable agricultural products that are healthier for you, as well as for the farmer. This shift is accomplished by learning from our past, farming with an open mind and not being afraid to try new techniques.

Hilary Adorno