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By Sally Dugman and associates

A group of excited and committed environmentalists and community members have the opportunity to preserve an old farm and heritage orchard at 20 Creeper Hill Road in North Grafton, MA 01536, USA. With the dedicated work of an orchardist, a skilled farmer and community volunteers, we plan to create a community asset and a place to preserve biodiversity on this beautiful 13 ½ acre parcel.

This farm is special because it has a huge orchard with heritage apple trees. Indeed some of the trees were brought to this farm by merchant sailing ships in the 1600s or 1700s and they consequently have very rare heritage genetics and no exposure to GMOs. Certainly these precious producers should not be lost!

.Our primary goal is to preserve this farm for all to use and enjoy, including generations to come. The trees will need expert care and our orchardist is just the person to make this happen. But Wild Farm will not be focused just on apples. Instead we will work to maintain many rare plants whose habitats are threatened and to expand the range of their tenuous existence, in turn staving off their risk of extinction. These native plants are particularly valuable because they provide habitat for many animals local to our area and they also serve as food sources for the pollinators so critical to agriculture in our region. The farm will use many innovative permaculture techniques.

We also plan to train volunteers and new farmers in these sustainable ways to tend the apple trees and to grow crops. We especially hope to recruit volunteers struggling to find meaning and purpose in their lives because being in nature and producing healthy food with others often helps those facing challenges to restore themselves. In turn our volunteers will help create a beautiful natural oasis in our community.

Finally, we are planning to include on the farm an educational site for children and their parents. Lessons focused on natural themes will be given several times a week and these programs will also include exploratory nature walks, art and writing projects.

It appears likely that the Town of North Grafton will purchase this property and then we can begin working with them to implement our goal of making this wonderful, old harvest farm a place of beauty, learning, personal refreshment, and a source of healthy food. It is possible that we may find a nature conservancy organization to buy the farm outright or from the town, which is better than a developer ripping it up to put 150 or more housing units on the property.

If the Town does not purchase the property or we cannot obtain approval to make our plan for this property work, we will donate all money raised to the non-profit group: The Community Harvest Project also located in Grafton. Please support this exciting project and the people dedicated to making it all happen.

Please if you have the means, donate to our endeavor. If you don’t, that is fine, too, and I wish you well in life.

Any questions about this project that you may have can be addressed to me in the comment section or sent to Binu, CC editor, and if I can’t answer them, I will have the orchardist or the farmer answer them. … Please distribute this email widely among friends and colleagues. Thank you as we have to try to make this plan work instead of a developer ripping up this old, old farm so as to turn it into a huge housing complex.

Sally Dugman is a writer from MA, USA