POCOPSON >> The 74-acre Barnard’s Orchard off Route 842, which has been in the Barnard family for four generations since 1862, will never see a developer’s shovel.
The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County has raised $863,000 toward the $901,000 project cost of putting the land in conservation easement. A fund-raiser to raise the remaining $38,000 is underway.
“If I’ve done nothing else in my life, I can say at least this farm will now always be here,” said Lewis Bernard, owner of Barnard’s Orchard. “I’ve done all I can, and the community has done all it can, to keep it (preserved). It’s green and open, and it will stay that way, and I feel good about it, and my family does too.”
Preservation of the orchard will keep intact a 1,200-acre corridor of vital land in the vicinity. The orchard features produce that is grown on site, including 32 varieties of apples, pumpkins, peaches, snapdragons and freesia. The Barnard family also host school groups at no cost to educate children about the how orchards operate.
The easement will also protect prime agricultural soils and will protect a portion of a nearby stream.
“People have been rallying around this,” said Gwen Lacy, executive director of The Land Conservancy. “This will protect development rights on the farm, and also help with improvements like deer fencing.”
Once the $38,000 is raised, which Lacy said needs to be done by fall, the land will remain in agriculture perpetuity, meaning it can never be developed.
Lacy said she is elated the 74-acre site will be preserved. She said people have been calling her with fond memories of taking their children or grandchildren to Barnard’s Orchard.
Lacy sand farmland and open space preservation benefits the community because for every $1 of tax revenue from farmland, only 2- to 12-cents of community services are required.
To help achieve the fundraising goal, Brandywine in White, a unique pop-up summer evening for wine and food enthusiasts, has agreed to donate proceeds to benefit Barnard’s Orchard. It will take place Aug. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at a location in the Brandywine region to be announced 48 hours in advance to those who have registered.
To donate, visit the Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County’s web site at tlcforscc.org, or mail checks to The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County, 541 Chandler Mill Road, Avondale Pa. 19311. Contributions are 100 percent tax-deductible.
To donate online: http://tlcforscc.org/donate/funds-for-farms-conserving-barnards-orchard/
“The Land Conservancy has been very good to work with,” Barnard said. “They were able to get the grants to cover finances and make this work.”
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) provides financial and technical assistance to help conserve agricultural lands and wetlands and their related benefits. It helps American Indian tribes, state and local governments and non-governmental organizations protect working agricultural lands and limit non-agricultural uses of the land.
Agricultural Land Easements protect the long-term viability of the nation’s food supply by preventing conversion of productive working lands to non-agricultural uses. Land protected by agricultural land easements provides additional public benefits, including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat and protection of open space.