Skip Navigation

300 Year Old Family Farm Preserved in Morris

It was 1735 when John and Elizabeth Farnham took up residence on 138 acres of farmland in scenic Morris, Connecticut. As they tended the fields and raised a family, they most likely didn’t imagine what life would be like for their descendants nearly 300 years later.

Fast forward to 2017. It was a perfect summer day, and the stage was set for celebration! And after all the t’s were crossed and the i’s dotted, Anne Howson Fellows, an 8th generation descendant of John and Elizabeth Farnham, emerged from the house in a joyful skip. It was official … through a conservation easement, Farnham Farm will be forever protected from development – no purple condominiums welcome here!

Fellows, along with her sister Cathy Balkun, and brother Peter Howson, marked the occasion with a special gathering that included family, friends, town officials, neighbors … and plenty of pie. Also on hand were representatives from conservation partner organizations and agencies that Fellows recognized as the ones who collaborated resources and made it possible – the Connecticut Farmland Trust, the Morris Land Trust; and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Through the NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), 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 these types of easements provide additional public benefits including environmental quality, historic preservation, wildlife habitat, and protection of open space.

“This farm has been in the same family since 1735,” said Thomas Morgart, NRCS State Conservationist. “The easement permanently prevents it from being developed, which is one more step in ensuring farming and agriculture remain a growing enterprise in Connecticut.”

Anne Howson Fellows and Carol Donzella.In addressing the group, Fellows thanked Connecticut Farmland Trust Executive Director Elisabeth Moore and her staff for bringing the easement to fruition; Ben Solnit, President of the Morris Land Trust and his staff for their hard work; and singled out NRCS representative Carol Donzella for working so hard to complete a mountain of paperwork.

The humble sisters gave each other credit for getting the ball rolling, with Cathy explaining Anne was the one to push things forward; while Anne points out none of this would have happened had Cathy not seen an article on conservation easements in a local magazine.

(Anne Howson Fellows gives a thumbs up
when asked about working with Donzella
and NRCS).

It’s said that Blood makes you related, but loyalty makes you family. This family has certainly demonstrated their loyalty to the past, and to the ones who have yet to come.

Siblings - Cathy Balkun (far left), Anne Howson Fellows (front row in pink), and Peter Howson (3rd from right) surrounded by family at their conservation easement celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Siblings - Cathy Balkun (far left), Anne Howson Fellows (front row in pink), and Peter Howson (3rd from right) surrounded by family at their conservation easement celebration.