[Concord, Warner] -The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) awarded Five Rivers Conservation Trust $215,000 to help conserve 118 acres of the Pletcher Farm, aka the Vegetable Ranch in Warner.
The farm is 118 acres of fields, pastures and forestland in Warner. Owner/Farmer Larry Pletcher has raised organic vegetable crops here for decades. His produce is sold direct to consumers at the Concord Farmer’s Market, Concord Cooperative Market, Local Harvest CSA, Concord Hospital, Warner Local Market, Whole Foods and many other venues. This farm helps feed the Merrimack Valley region!
"The Pletcher Farm/Vegetable Ranch is an important part of our local food system" said Beth McGuinn, Executive Director of Five Rivers Conservation Trust. "Larry has built quality farm soils using organic methods to increase nutrients and organic matter. Conserving this farm will ensure that future farmers can continue to use these soils for agricultural production. Five Rivers is thankful that this LCHIP grant will anchor our efforts to conserve the farm"
In addition to conserving the farm fields, this project conserves the forested headwaters of Stevens and Willow Brooks, identified as priorities for conservation by the town. The farm’s wildlife habitat is ranked highly by NH Fish and Game, in part because the property is adjacent to a 10,000 acre block of undeveloped land including Mount Kearsarge and Black Mountain.
LCHIP grants are highly competitive. This year applicants requested nearly $8 million in funding compared to $4.1 million available for grants. LCHIP Board of Directors Chair Amanda Merrill of Durham said, “It is clear to me that the work of LCHIP is more important than ever.”
With the receipt of the LCHIP grant Five Rivers will move forward with a campaign to raise $25,000 in private donations from community members, fans of local and organic food, lovers of wildlife and clean water enthusiasts. Every private donation will be matched by funds from the Thomas W. Hass Fund of the NH Charitable Foundation. Interested supporters can learn more at www.5rct.org.
Additional funding for this project have been awarded by the Farm Future Fund of the NH Association of Conservation Districts, the Quabbin to Cardigan Partnership, the Town of Warner, and private donors.
Five Rivers Conservation Trust is a nonprofit membership supported organization that works with communities and landowners to protect land to ensure that future generations can experience, utilize, and benefit from the farms, forests, wetlands, and fields that characterize much of the landscape today. The organization works in seventeen communities across the greater capital region of New Hampshire and has conserved over 80 properties, 5000+ acres.