Farm purchases leased property

WILTON – Since 2004, the Temple-Wilton Com­munity Farm has held a 99-year lease on Four Cor­ners Farm on Abbott Hill Road. It had been using the 68-acre property since about 1997, but the com­munity farm really want­ed to own it.

Now it does, thanks to the efforts of a great many people. That effort was guided by the Russell Foundation.

"The lease provided long-term use, but very little security and no eq­uity," Ian McSweeney, director of the Russell Foundation, said when announcing the purchase on Tuesday, Aug. 9. "This has made investments difficult."

The closing on the sale was tentatively set for Wednesday, Aug. 17.

In December 2015, the Russell Founda­tion secured a contrac­tual agreement to buy the farm from its owner, Senator Developments. Donations, grants and fundraising secured the needed $576,000.

McSweeney said there was a total of 340 individ­ual contributors, 23 indi­vidual loans, a grant from the Thomas W. Bass Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and money from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund and the Farm­ers Dinner.

The dinner, prepared by chef Patrick Soucy, of Applecrest Farm Bistro in Hampton Falls, and chef Keith Saracen, founder of the Farmers Dinner, con­sisted of products grown on the farm.

Buying the farm was the long-held dream of Lincoln Geiger and An­thony Graham, current mangers of the farm, and Trauger Groh, founder of the Community Farm in 1985, McSweeney said.

Over the years, the farm has acquired several neighboring properties in order to secure a source of hay for the dairy herd. Four Corners is the last dairy farm in Wilton.

The property includes a 1760s farmhouse, one of the oldest in town, which is listed on the National Reg­ister of Historic Places.

The purchase of an ag­ricultural easement for the farm from landowner Steven Moheban in 2004 was facilitated by the town Conservation Com­mission and included a grant of $125,000 from the Land and Community In­vestment Program. The total cost of the ease­ment was $550,000. Other funds came from the U.S. Department of Agricul­ture, the New Hampshire Department of Environ­mental Services Water Supply Grant, the town of Wilton and High Mowing School.

The farm also includes a permanent trails ease­ment in Corridor 13, which connects Massa­chusetts with Canada. The Wilton-Lyndeborough Winter Wanderers Snow­mobile Club contributes to the trail.

The Community Farm is a community support­ed agriculture farm that serves more than 100 fam­ilies.