Success Stories - Rhode Island Farm Loop
Conservation: Our purpose. Our passion.
LANDOWNER SUCCESS STORY
Johnston, Rhode Island
Protection of Salisbury Farms helps to preserve Rhode Island's "farm loop"
More than 540 acres of Rhode Island farmland have been protected in the "farm loop" of western Cranston, Johnston, and Scituate with the announcement of the acquisition of farmland development rights to the 30-acre Salisbury Farm in Johnston by the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the US Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Owner Wayne Salisbury operates as a small fruit and vegetable farm, growing strawberries, raspberries, corn, and pumpkins. A corn maze, currently open to the public, is also located at the farm. The property was originally operated as a dairy farm and has been farmed by the Salisbury family since the 1860s.
The farm is located in an area where land preservation began over 50 years ago in order to save important natural resources. The nearby 267-acre Curran State Park was acquired by the Kent County Water Authority in the 1950s to provide a public drinking water supply. The undeveloped park was transferred to DEM in 1967 and became the cornerstone of open space preservation in the area.
"As the pressures of development continue to erode active farmland throughout the state, it is increasingly important for the state and its many partners to continue to preserve Rhode Island's farm heritage for future generations," said W. Michael Sullivan, Ph.D., Director of DEM, making the announcement at the farm during an event attended by state and local officials and agricultural preservationists including Wayne Salisbury and Everett Stuart, chair of the state's Agricultural Land Preservation Commission.
"The acquisition of farmland development rights to the Salisbury Farm in this open and scenic farm corridor so close to the metropolitan Providence area, the most densely populated area of the state, is particularly gratifying," said Sullivan.
"Growing up on a ranch-farm myself, I understand the importance of this celebration - we are celebrating the preservation of a family farm," said Roylene Rides at the Door, NRCS State Conservationist for Rhode Island. "This collaboration has ensured the continuation of the Salisbury Farm for many future generations."
The Salisbury property is just over the Cranston line from the DEM-owned and protected Ringrose (Urban Edge) Farm operated by the Southside Community Land Trust, and is in close proximity to a number of other protected farms in the area, including DiMuccio Farm, Confreda Farm, Holscher Farm (Good Earth), Domenicone Farm, and the Knight Farms in Cranston and Scituate. A number of partners, including, in the case of Ringrose, the Champlin Foundations, made protection of Ringrose and the others possible.
The agriculture industry has always been important to Rhode Island, both in economic value and in contributing to the livability of Rhode Island communities. Farming is an integral part of the state's economy and provides a valuable contribution to Rhode Island's open space and quality of life. Currently, Rhode Island has 858 farms, mostly family run, which occupy 61,000 acres. To date, 72 farms, totaling 5,095 acres, have been protected through Rhode Island's farmland bond funds in partnership with other organizations.