What is Pine Island Community Farm?
Pine Island Community Farm is located in Colchester. It is a place where New Americans—people who originally came to Vermont as refugees—can produce food and enjoy the land. The farm is owned by the Vermont Land Trust and is home to farm businesses and community gardens. The businesses share land, buildings, and equipment. Many people who come here as refugees have farming roots. Pine Island Community Farm is a place where people can be on the land again and grow or buy food that is hard to get in Vermont. It’s a space where people can experience a Vermont that feels more like home.
The Vermont Land Trust bought this 230-acre farm at an auction in 2012. The land trust wanted the land to serve the community. It also wanted to protect the Winooski River, which runs along the southern end of the farm.
Around this time, a community organizer suggested starting a goat business to produce meat for the traditional meals of New Americans. Goat is eaten in many parts of the world but is hard to find fresh in Vermont. And so began the first business on Pine Island Community Farm. Today the farm has three independent businesses and many garden plots, all run by families from around the globe.
Over the years, the land trust has improved the buildings and infrastructure, and protected areas along the river. The land trust and its partners have promoted responsible farming, planted trees near the river, and encouraged native plants to grow.