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April 20, 2009 at 7:23 am Leave a comment

blockisland-farm

On Saturday (April 25), the RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission will host the Annual RI Statewide Historic Preservation Conference at the University of Rhode Island. This year’s event, “Preservation Steps Out,” will focus on preserving historic outdoor spaces, like farms, woodlands, conservation land, seashores, riverfronts, parks, village crossroads, and the like.

A lot of the day is devoted to issues relating to historic farms, from agritourism to farmers’ markets to barn preservation. I’m especially looking forward to the keynote speech by Steve Taylor, a dairy farmer and writer who formerly served as the Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food for New Hampshire. His talk is called “Cows, Countryside, and Community: Can the Working Landscape of Rural New England Be Saved?”  Today’s Providence Journal features Bill Van Siclen’s conversation with Taylor.

And many other local agriculture people and places will participate: farmer and Senator V. Susan Sosnowski, Ken Ayars (RI-DEM), Stu Nunnery (RICAPE), Pat McNiff (Casey Farm), Nancy Parker Wilson (Greenvale Vineyards), Jeffrey Farrell (Sunset Farm), and Jim Crothers (South County Museum), to name a few.

Through Green Zone and at RIHPHC, I’ve spent the past year learning about the local food/farm/garden/land communities. The historic preservation perspective is complementary but different; preservationists often see farms as historic places with historic buildings and outbuildings, fields, ponds, woodlots, and stone walls. Preserving a sense of place while working the landscape is the particular challenge of the New England farmer.

See you for tours, sessions, talks, and networking at URI on Saturday. The conference costs $40, and registration is available on-site.  >>more info<<

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Entry filed under: agritourism, Casey Farm, events, farms, local food, Rhode Island, RI Center for Agricultural Promotion and Education, RI Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, South County Museum. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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