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CT Farmland Can't Protect Itself. But We Can.
The Working Lands Alliance (WLA) is the statewide voice for farmland preservation efforts in Connecticut. Our alliance includes farmers, conservation organizations, land trusts, local food advocates and many others working together to preserve our state's most precious resource - its farmland. Become a member today!
WLA Sponsors Essay Contest for Agriscience Students and 4-H members
Working Lands Alliance is sponsoring an essay contest for high school-level agriscience students, FFA members, and 4-H members. The contest asks these students to consider the role both farmland protection and agriscience schools/4-H programs might play in meeting the goal of increasing consumption of CT-grown food and farm products from the current levels of 2% to 10%.
The top three winners will receive cash prizes, and those three and four honorable mentions will enjoy a Connecticut-grown dinner with Governor Malloy and Commissioner of Agriculture Revizky at the Winvian estate in the Litchfield Hills.
For details and submission information, please click here.
WLA Announces Winners of First-Ever Agriscience Essay Contest
WLA announced the winners of its first-ever Agriscience/FFA/4-H essay contest, which asked students to consider the role both farmland protection and acriscience schools/4-H programs might play in meeting the goal of increasing consumption of CT-grown food and farm products. Congratulations to Jackie Johnson (first prize), Bailey Basiel (second prize) and Carter Smith-Wellman (third prize!)! Read more about the three winners and the essay contest here.
Legislative Session Concludes with Advances on State Lands Protection Efforts
On May 7th, the legislature concluded the 2014 session and we are pleased to report that 3 of the bills that WLA supported all passed in the final days of the session. Two of these three bills advance our efforts to protect our state-held agricultural and conservation lands, and we will continue to work with the Governor's office to keep the momentum going on these issues. Click here to read our legislative wrap up.
WLA Releases Recommendations from Farmland Access Forum
This past fall, Working Lands Alliance and numerous partners hosted a Farmland Access and Affordability Forum, generously sponsored by Farm Credit East and an anonymous donor. The forum provided an opportunity to delve into farmland access and affordability issues in CT, and learn about innovative approaches being employed by organizations around the region. WLA and its partners recently released the summary and findings from the Forum, which includes a list of 'Priorities for Action in 2014', developed by the Farmland Access Working Group. Read the report here
WLA Hosts Governor Malloy at February Meeting
Working Lands Alliance kicked off the 2014 legislative session with a visit from Governor Malloy to our monthly Steering Committee meeting. Members of the Steering Committee engaged with the Governor on a variety of issues, including further protections of state-owned land, the pace of farmland preservation in Connecticut, and farmland access issues facing CT's new and beginning farmers. Read more...
WLA Recognizes CT Representatives Linda Gentile and Arthur O'Neill
At WLA's Annual Meeting and Luncheon on November 13th, WLA awarded two Legislative Leadership Awards to CT Representatives Linda Gentile and Arthur O'Neill. WLA is delighted to recognize these two legislators for the role they played in passing legislation to preserve 825 acres of prime farmland at Southbury Training School. WLA offers its deepest thanks to both Rep. Gentile and Rep. O'Neill for their hard work on behalf of farmland preservation in Connecticut. Read more
WLA Announces 2013 Pathfinder Award Winners
WLA announced the winners of the 2013 Farmland Preservation Pathfinder Awards. This years awardees were: Outstanding Individual: Tom Crider from Southbury Land Trust; Outstanding Group: The Farmer's Cow; Education Leader: George Hall, from George Hall Farm in Simsbury. Congratulations to these outstanding recipients, who exemplify the spirit of these awards! Read more here.
Nominations Open for 2013 Pathfinder Awards
WLA is pleased to announce that nominations are now open for our 2013 Farmland Preservation Pathfinder Awards. Established in 2003, these awards are designed to recognize individuals and groups that have significantly advanced farmland preservation through leadership, advocacy, planning and education. Nominations are due by Friday, October 18th to Lisa Bassani, email@example.com. Nomination forms can be downloaded here.
Save the Date for WLA's Annual Meeting!
Please save the date WLA's Annual Meeting and luncheon, which will be held on November 13th from 12 pm to 2 pm in the Old Judiciary Room in the State Capitol. Mark your calendars! This year's theme will be "Celebrating 35 Years of Farmland Preservation" in honor of the 35th anniversary of CT's Farmland Preservation Program, which was created in 1978 and was one of the nation's first programs of its kind. More details to come!
Terry Jones Offers a Tribute to the Late Dr. Magnarelli
This summer, the Working Lands Alliance and the agricultural community were saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Louis Magnarelli, the Director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Dr. Magnerelli served as the 8th director of the Station from 2004 to 2013 and was a tireless advocate for Connecticut agriculture. Terry Jones, WLA Chairman and vice president of the Station's Board of Control, wrote a beautiful tribute to Dr. Magnarelli, published in the CT Post. Read here.
Governor Signs Southbury Training School Bill!
The bill to protect 825 acres of state-owned farmland at the Southbury Training School unanimously passed in both the House and Senate, and was signed by Governor Malloy on July 16th! This was one of WLA's top priorities this legislative session, and numerous hours went in to advocating for this bill and seeing it through to successful passage. This important and potentially precedent-setting bill will permanently protect a large tract of prime farmland and could set the stage for the preservation of other key farmland parcels owned by the State. "We applaud Governor Malloy and the legislature for their foresight in protecting this farmland in perpetuity", said Lisa Bassani, WLA Project Director.
Legislative Session Concludes with Wins for Farmland Preservation
This summer, Connecticut ended its legislative session with some big wins for farmland preservation, thanks to WLA's education and advocacy efforts. A bill to preserve 825 acres of state owned farmland passed unanimously in both the House and Senate, and was signed by CT Governor Dannel Malloy. WLA also successfully defended the Community Investment Act (CIA) from a proposed $4 million raid and, in fact, the budget actually included a significant new source of revenue to the CIA account. Finally, WLA secured another $20 million in new bond authorization for the state's Farmland Preservation Program for the next two fiscal years. Overall, the session was a success!
WLA Hosts Governor Malloy for Annual Ice Cream Breakfast
On May 14th, 2013, WLA hosted Governor Dannel Malloy and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman for our annual Ice Cream Breakfast at the Capitol. The event was an opportunity to thank the Governor, Lt. Governor and leadership in the legislature for their support of farmland preservation issues, and to showcase the outstanding dairy products made right here in CT. WLA extends a big thanks to Arethusa Farm, Farmer's Cow, and UConn Dairy for providing their delicious ice cream for this special breakfast with the Governor!
WLA Welcomes New Project Director
In February 2013, Lisa Bassani joined the Working Lands Alliance as its new Project Director. In this role, she will direct all aspects of WLA's efforts to protect Connecticut's productive farmland. Lisa brings to WLA an extensive background in land conservation, having held positions at The Trust for Public Land, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and the National Park Service. Read more about Lisa here.
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