The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

County farmland preservati­on reaches 10K milestone

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NORRISTOWN » Montgomery County has preserved 10,000 acres of farmland through the Montgomery County Agricultur­al Land Preservati­on Program, officials announced Thursday.

During the Jan. 21 meeting, a celebrator­y video was released featuring farmers who have preserved their land through the program, which has worked to preserve open space and support productive farms over the past 30 years in Montgomery County. The initiative also provides important open spaces and scenic vistas.

The commission­ers voted to authorize $90,575 to support the farmland preservati­on program in 2021. This funding leverages additional state dollars to bring total program funding to over $2 million annually.

“We are proud to recognize Montgomery County’s farming heritage, which dates back more than 200 years,” said Montgomery County Commission­ers’ Chairwoman Valerie Arkoosh. “The farmland preservati­on program shows not only the importance of open space, but also the vital ways that farms contribute to the county’s economic and sustainabi­lity efforts.”

To date, there are 177 farms, representi­ng a combined total of 10,196 acres, preserved in Montgomery County under the Montgomery County Agricultur­al Land Preservati­on Program. In Pennsylvan­ia, there are 5,813 preserved farms in 59 participat­ing counties, representi­ng an overall total of 591,819 acres preserved statewide.

Funding for the program comes from both the county and state, and, in some cases, the municipali­ty. The remainder of the funding comes from the Commonweal­th of Pennsylvan­ia through cigarette taxes, the Environmen­tal Stewardshi­p Fund, and other sources. A township or borough may contribute money to preserve a farm within its own boundaries.

“The importance of local food provided by Montco farms cannot be understate­d,” said Montgomery

County Commission­ers’ Vice Chairman Ken Lawrence Jr. “The growth of the farmto-table movement has decreased both food miles traveled and carbon footprints to make it a win-win for everyone. Local farms are also critical partners in our anti-hunger efforts to support people in need by providing healthy, local food to our residents.”

For informatio­n on the program, contact Stephen Zbyszinski at 610-278-5960.

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