We have the chance to permanently protect the Armstrong Farm from development and to revitalize it with a new farm business.
The Armstrong Farm reflects the rich agricultural heritage of Calais. If you believe that the rural economy is important and wish to see this farm back in production, the chance to permanently protect its future has come—an opportunity that may occur just once in a lifetime.
Owner Ella Armstrong grew up on the farm, which is located on Pekin Brook Road between Route 14 and Calais Village. For 50 years the land supported a dairy operation; now Ella has decided to sell the 129-acre farm. After hearing it would be sold, neighbors connected Ella with the Vermont Land Trust to try to secure the future of the farm.
Please join us in conserving the land and bringing Tamarack Hollow Farm, a vibrant vegetable business, to Calais—we can’t do it alone!
With your support, new farmers will harvest the farm’s fields and build a vibrant agricultural business. A conservation agreement will secure public access to Pekin Brook for fishing and recreation, and protect water quality. It will prevent development and make sure that it remains available to farmers for generations to come.
Amanda Andrews and Mike Betit of Tamarack Hollow Farm were selected to be the new owners of the Armstrong Farm. They were chosen through a competitive proposal process as part of the Vermont Land Trust’s Farmland Access Program—a program that matches farmers with land they can afford and that fits their business plan.
Amanda and Mike are currently farming eight acres in Plainfield, where they grow certified organic root crops and leafy greens that they sell through a farmers’ market in New York City. Moving to the Calais land will allow them to expand their business, which currently employs five people. Over the next several years, they intend to add turkey and beef production to the operation.
The Armstrong Farm is a good fit for their business. The land is already certified organic and has 30 tillable acres and 22 acres of pasture, as well as a farmhouse and dairy barn. The pastures have been used for rotational grazing, giving the soil an opportunity to rest and replenish.
Mike, Amanda, and their crew care about the health of their food, the soil where it grows ,and the people who eat it. “We believe that diverse farms offer the most sustainable option for the future of farming,” says Amanda. “Our growing practices mean that our food is delicious and safe.”
How You Can Help
The cost of conserving the land is $420,500. The farm will be sold for $145,000. We are nearly 90% of the way there:
The Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide $130,609.
A river protection and water quality grant will be funded by The Nature Conservancy through a $60,000 grant from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
The Calais Conservation Fund will contribute $30,000.
To complete this project, we must raise an additional $55,000 by December 31, 2016.
Please help us raise the money needed to protect this community treasure. Consider a tax-deductible gift today.
Please send your check, made out to Vermont Land Trust with “Armstrong” in the memo line, to:
Vermont Land Trust
8 Bailey Ave.
Montpelier, VT 05602
Or, donate online now.
To learn more, contact:
Vermont Land Trust
Elise Annes: (802) 262-1206 or
Calais community members
Eric Sorenson and Kathy Kashanski: (802) 456-1834
Charlotte Hanna: (802) 456-8971