Located in Hadley Township, the Great Meadow lies on a historic flood plain peninsula formed by a bend in the Connecticut River. Considered some of the richest soil in the state, the Great Meadow has been continuously farmed for over 350 years and is a priority for protection by both the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and PreservationMass, a statewide historic preservation group, which named the Great Meadow one of the “10 Most Endangered Historic Resources.” Additionally, the Great Meadow is part of the Connecticut River Valley, identified as one of the nation’s top 20 agricultural areas most threatened by development, according to American Farmland Trust. The Kestrel Trust has identified over 10 parcels of farmland on the Great Meadow for protection.
In December 2005, OSI lent The Kestrel Trust $100,000 to protect 6.5-acres in the Great Meadow.
Kestrel repaid its loan to OSI through a mix of local fundraising and the sale of an easement to the Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program. Once an easement was placed on the property, the land was sold to a farmer at a discounted price.
Great Meadow was the first project that utilized OSI’s Capacity Grant Fund which provides funding to loan applicants for transactional costs and baseline monitoring. A grant was provided to Kestrel for a third party Environmental Site Assessment.