posted at 11:14 am Thu Apr 8th, 2010 by (WherezIt_Staff)
Governor Jim Douglas has announced $208,723 in Historic Preservation Barn Grants that will be awarded to 25 farms to help make repairs needed to keep the barns in use.
In a ceremony at the Dodge Farm in Berlin, which received $10,000 to repair its barn roof, the governor noted that the program promoted two of Vermont's most important industries, agriculture and tourism.
"Our farms are more than just providers of jobs and bonds to our agricultural past, they boost our tourism industry by preserving our working landscape," Governor Douglas said. "Preserving these magnificent barns for future generations isn't just good for the view, it's good for our economy."
The farm's owners, Kristen Gallagher and Loren Thompson, purchased it in July 2009 with the assistance of the Vermont Land Trust, and have set up a farming operation there that will include a Community Sponsored Agriculture program (CSA) as well as small-scale livestock operations.
"This grant is an important step in helping move our vision of a sustainable farm operation forward," Gallagher said.
A fifth generation Vermonter with a degree in Ecological Agriculture from the University of Vermont, she spent two years working on small organic family farms in Switzerland and Chile, and later worked at a farm in Charlotte where she milked goats and made cheese from the product.
"In addition to the CSA, we're hoping to put a community canning room; a space for educational and art programs for children; and possibly a cheesemaking facility here in this barn," Gallagher said.
The grant program, administered by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, provides owners of agricultural buildings with matching funding of up to $10,000 for a variety of capital repairs. Eligible projects include repairs to roofs, foundations, walls, sills and overall stabilization.
In making decisions on funding, the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation prioritizes projects, giving particular emphasis to working barns to keep them in service and significant agricultural buildings in critical need of repair.
"There is a great deal of competition for these grants, because there are so many more worthy projects than we can afford to fund," Governor Douglas said. "Money is tight, but we must make the investments in our infrastructure that we can afford, and these grants encourage the barns' owners to invest in their upkeep and preservation."
Since its inception more than twenty years ago, the program has provided more than $1.5 million and leveraged many millions more to bring new life to more than 200 historic agricultural buildings.
"Every year we lose some of these landmarks to age, but these modest grants help stem that tide," Douglas said. "The owners of these barns deserve our thanks for taking action to preserve them."
For more information, visit the Division for Historic Preservation site at: http://www.historicvermont.org/financial/barn.html
Berlin, VT 05602 (Set as Local)