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Featured Stories in Our Latest Annual Report

backcountry skiersRecreation for All: Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry

1,144 acres of ski terrain and  forestland conserved and added to the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. Read more.

 

Chuda DhauraliA Return to Farming: Pine Island Farm

Colchester farm is new home for refugee farmers raising goats and growing rice and vegetables.  Read more.

 

Connecting Habitat and Neighbors: Cold Hollow to Canada

Landowners conserve wildlife habitat and prevent forest fragmentation in the northern Greens.  Read more.

 

Reunion with the Land: Nulheganaki Tribal Forest

Nulhegan Abenaki acquire tribal forest and sugarbush in Barton. Read more.

 

Balancing Timber and Habitat: Foresters for the Birds

Landowners and VLT work with Audubon to implement improvements in bird habitat on managed forestland. Read more.

Working Farms: the Darby Farm

Heather Darby and Ron  HermanFrom the 2004-2005 Annual Report

When Heather Darby and her partner, Ron, bought their farm in Alburg last year, she knew it would be an ideal spot for a roadside stand: on busy Route 2, just a stone’s throw from town. Yet it took her more than a year to open the stand. The trouble was that folks were so eager to buy her vegetables that she had none left to sell. At the local farmers’ market and restaurants, and among her own neighbors, there has been quite a demand for her produce.

Of course, Heather isn’t just any new farmer in Alburg. She’s a Darby — her family has farmed on this spot for the past two centuries. Heather grew up here on a dairy farm, then left for several years to study agriculture.Working with university extension programs exposed Heather to a wide range of ideas and practices, which she brought back home to complement her local knowledge — the kind that can’t be learned in school.

Heather is quick to point out that Vermont’s farming heritage is more diverse than some might realize. While her father and grandfather had dairy cows, previous generations of Darbys did a bit of everything — which describes Heather’s approach, as we learned on a recent visit to her farm. In addition to growing veggies, she’s trying her hand at flax, a historic Vermont crop that today is coveted for the nutritional value of its oil. She has also found steady income by leasing her land for custom grazing, which utilizes crop rotation to provide better feed while sustaining the land.

Heather’s plans also include renovating the farm’s historic buildings, which date back to the eighteenth century. She credits the conservation easement with freeing her from debt, thus helping her to get an early start on her many projects. And she is happy to know the land will be in farming forever.

Heather also has a legacy for Alburg in mind. She has hired a number of local kids, whom she hopes to show that farming can be fun and profitable. It’s no wonder why Alburg has been so excited to have Heather Darby back in town.

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