With the completion of the paperwork and the signing of the agricultural conservation easement, Barnard’s Orchard, a community staple for over 150 years, is now officially permanently protected. The easement adds an additional 70 plus acres to the protected lands in Newlin Township. The project would not be possible without the Barnard Family, and The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County’s (TLC) partnerships with and funding from the Chester County Challenge Grant Program, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and the Marmot Foundation. Additionally, much thanks is owed to the community who overwhelmingly came out in support of conserving Barnard’s Orchard in late summer as TLC worked to raise the last of the project funds for completion this year. Thanks to the contributions and support from so many, the Barnard’s Orchard property will remain in active agriculture forever.
Barnard’s Orchard, a fourth generation family farm, was established in 1862 with the family interests expanding over the years. The Orchard and store now provide apples, peaches, blueberries, flowers, and other produce year-round to area residents via the grounds and greenhouses. The Barnard family has worked with TLC over the past two years to complete the easement and honor their family land to ensure it remains in agricultural use forever. The family will maintain ownership of the property, located along Route 842 two miles east of Unionville, while The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County and the County Agricultural Land Preservation Board will co-hold the easement and act as guardians of its provisions.
Not only will the land be preserved in active agriculture, but the easement also protects Barnard Run, a valuable first-order tributary of the Brandywine Creek and its robust riparian buffer and woodlands. These protected natural resources benefit the community by helping filter water entering the streams to improve water quality for both wildlife and the area residents who rely on the Brandywine Creek watershed for their drinking supply.
According to Gwen Lacy, TLC’s executive director, “Barnard’s Orchard is a crown jewel, with many loyal multi-generational customers and a family intent on embracing their legacy within the community; this is the success story of the year.” However, Lacy went on to caution, that for every success story like Barnard’s, there are at least two other family farms that unfortunately go the way of development, for one reason or another. “We know we must remain vigilant,” said Lacy, “and as a result of the outpouring of support for Barnard’s, TLC has created a program called Funds for Farms, so that residents can continue to be part of the solution in Southern Chester County. There was such an outpouring of support for Barnard’s we are hoping to harness that power and replicate it, so that other farmers can recognize income while conserving their farms in perpetuity.”
To learn how you can be part of the solution as TLC works to help conserve more family farms, click here. Additionally, please call Gwen Lacy at 610-347-0347 x107 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about this project or how conservation may work for your property.