John McPhee’s 1979 book Giving Good Weight illustrated the life of the Hodgson family, both at their farm in the Town of Montgomery, Orange County, as well as at the Greenmarket in New York City. In 2007 OSI bought a conservation easement on the 51-acre Hodgson Farm. Despite intense pressure to sell to developers, the Hodgson family will be able to continue farming in the future because of the conservation easement.
The Hodgson Farm is in the viewshed of the Shawangunk Ridge, a popular recreation area where OSI has protected over 25,000 acres. The land has rich natural resource value, with prime soils, streams and ponds.
It also stands out because of its success with diversification of farming initiatives: from a chicken farm thirty years ago, Hodgsons now includes a petting zoo, a pick-your-own strawberry and pumpkin patch, a corn maze, as well as strong involvement with the 4-H Club and the Greenmarket program.
The Hodgson farm conservation easement was funded predominantly through a state Purchase of Development Rights (PDR). The required local match was met by OSI and the Town of Montgomery, as well as contributions from the Hodgson family themselves.
OSI has protected through agricultural easements, four other farms in the Town of Montgomery. The town has protected almost 1,000 acres of farmland—approximately 10% of its current total farmland cover—with OSI’s help. Hodgson is particularly important as the first non-dairy farm in Orange County protected by a PDR.
Hodgson is an important example of OSI’s commitment to preserving farmland as open space, as a local food source, and as an important member of the surrounding community.
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