Stonefield Farm, Acton
SVT is working with the Town of Acton and Boston Area Gleaners to protect Stonefield Farm with an Agricultural Preservation Restriction.
Project at a Glance:
- Stonefield Farm in South Acton has been growing vegetables and plants for retail and wholesale markets since 1929.
- Boston Area Gleaners (BAG) has agreed to purchase the property and to continue farming operations on the land. BAG is a nonprofit, food rescue and hunger relief organization.
- To help fund the acquisition, BAG has offered to sell an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) on the property to the Town of Acton and SVT.
- 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 prime 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
The sale of the farm to BAG, subject to 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. 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
SVT, the Town of Acton, and the Acton Conservation Trust (ACT) have teamed up to raise funds to help BAG purchase the farm and place an APR on it.
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.
To determine the value of an APR, an appraiser first considers how much a property will be worth before the land is restricted. This value is typically based on how much development the property support. Then, they consider how much it will be worth if the development potential was taken away. There is still some value left in the non-developable land, especially when it can be used for farming. In this case, the land, itself, 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 late 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 are launching a private fundraising campaign to raise additional funds by the end of the summer. Stay tuned for more information!