Stonefield Farm, Acton
SVT is working with the Town of Acton, Acton Conservation Trust, and Boston Area Gleaners to protect Stonefield Farm with an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, and our local fundraising campaign is underway!
Acton Voters will be asked to contribute $1.2 million of Community Preservation Funds toward the $1.9 million purchase price of the APR during Town Meeting on June 21. SVT and ACT have agreed to raise at least $50,000 to help close the gap. Please help protect this land!
Project at a Glance:
- Stonefield Farm in South Acton is a local treasure that has been growing vegetables and plants for retail and wholesale markets since 1929.
- Stonefield’s owners, farmers Carl, Mike, and Paul Simeone, are ready to retire, and Boston Area Gleaners (BAG) has agreed to purchase their property and to continue farming operations on the land. BAG is a nonprofit, food rescue and hunger relief organization.
- Stonefield has long been a priority for protection, so SVT, the Town of Acton, and the Acton Conservation Trust are working together to purchase an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) on the property from BAG.
- The APR will ensure the 51-acre property remains undeveloped and will be used either for agricultural use or as open space in perpetuity.
Stonefield Farm consists of approximately 51.5 acres of quality farmland, existing agricultural operations, and upland and wetland forests.
It is part of the Heath Hen Meadow/Fort Pond Brook greenbelt, an ecologically significant corridor that extends from Concord to Stow and includes priority wildlife habitat and thousands of acres of conserved land.
Stonefield Farm Project Map: Click >> to see the Map Legend; click + or - to zoom in or out.
Why protect this land
This scenic property has played an integral role in the Town of Acton’s history and has been the site of Stonefield Farm for nearly 100 years. The Town identified the property as one of the highest priorities for protection in its 2014-2021 Open Space and Recreation plan.
The extensive wetlands on the property provide good flood mitigation, and the undisturbed woodlands form an uninterrupted forest block with adjacent lands in Acton, Stow, and Maynard.
Together with the neighboring 14-acre Caouette Farm, which the Town purchased in 2010, the protection of Stonefield Farm will safeguard 64 acres of open space in south Acton.
In addition, protecting Stonefield Farm with an Agricultural Preservation Restriction will keep the farm in active agriculture while ensuring it will never be developed.
Further, woodlands at the southern end of the property will be preserved for a short walking trail, accessible from the Assabet River Rail Trail.
About BAG and stonefield
Founded in 2004, the Boston Area Gleaners (BAG) works closely with local farms and volunteer laborers to provide hunger-relief programs across eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. BAG harvests surplus fresh food and shares it with food banks, meal programs, and low-income markets.
BAG has been seeking to buy a farm property in order to expand its programs and services. The organization plans to grow high-demand, culturally appropriate produce for hunger relief partners and to create farming opportunities for emerging farmers.
Serendipitously, the owners of Stonefield Farm, farmers Carl, Mike, and Paul Simeone, were ready to retire and liked what BAG was proposing to do. Stonefield Farm has both the farmable fields and sufficient infrastructure that BAG requires.
How we will protect this land
BAG plans to buy the farm, and SVT, the Town of Acton, and the Acton Conservation Trust (ACT) have teamed up to raise funds to purchase an APR on the land from BAG.
By selling the APR, BAG will offset a large portion of the purchase price. BAG is buying the farm for its fair market value of $2.8 million and will sell the APR, valued at $1.9 million, to SVT and the Town.
(An appraiser determines the value of an APR by considering how much the property will be worth when it can no longer be developed. Non-developable land still has value, especially when it can be used for farming. In this case, the land has been appraised at about $900,000, thus the value of the APR is $1.9 million.)
Once SVT and the Town of Acton purchase the APR, we will be responsible for ensuring that its terms are upheld in perpetuity. This also means making sure the farmable portion of the land stays in active farming.
The project is scheduled to close in Summer 2021.
During their Annual Town Meeting on June 21, the residents of Acton will vote on whether to appropriate $1.2 million of Community Preservation Funds for this project.
SVT and ACT have launched a private fundraising campaign to raise at least $50,000 to help make up the difference in the purchase price. Please help protect this land!