Our goal is to protect 2,000 acres of fruitbelt farmland in our five county service area by 2021. and the timing is perfect for several reasons. Development pressure for farmland in Northern Michigan has never been higher as many fruit farms possess coveted views of East and West Grand Traverse Bay or lakes such as Torch and Elk in the Chain of Lakes watershed in Antrim County. At the same time, local support to protect farms continues to be strong. The “locally grown” food movement is now an economic pillar in the region, helping to create a thriving local food culture that attracts tourists and economic investment. Finally, the Conservancy was one of the recipients of a cooperative federal Regional Conservation Partnership Program grant. The $2.8 million portion of the grant earmarked for our service area will be used to work with local farm families to extinguish development rights on key farmland while protecting water quality. This grant must be matched dollar for dollar through private support.
We hope to raise $13 million over five years.