Tour Rokes Farm Oct. 21
Camden — As a public service, the Camden Conservation Commission is sponsoring two tours of the Rokes Farm in Camden on Sunday, Oct. 21, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., rain or shine.
Maine Farmland Trust staff will lead tours and talk about the history of farm operations as the next generation of farmers begins to work the land. All ages are welcome. Meet at the farm entrance by the chicken barns (208 Mechanic St.), and wear suitable clothing for strolling the fields and exploring this gentle rural landscape at the edge of the village. Those who work up an appetite may enjoy the pancake breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area.
One of the Camden Conservation Commission’s directives, as stated in the Camden Comprehensive Plan, is to encourage continued use of the land within the town of Camden for agriculture. According to Commission chair Douglas N. Johnson, “The Commission created this opportunity for the community to familiarize themselves with the beautiful and soon-to-be productive farm and to ‘step into’ the bucolic vista enjoyed from outer Mechanic Street and the Hosmer Pond Road.”
Former Conservation Commission member Karin Rector wrote a letter to the editor appearing in The Camden Herald this past summer. “In 2006, the Camden Conservation Commission created and mailed out a survey to local citizens to find out which natural lands they most valued. The Rokes Farm was specifically identified the most times as a place to be protected. The Spear Farm adjoins this and also provides a spectacular scenic view of pastoral beauty. Now is the time to see that protection happen.”
Rokes Farm, with its fields and large red barn marks, the transition from the village heading toward Ragged Mountain and is a treasured community asset. Together with the Spear property, the preservation of these 54 acres of farmland is currently the focus of a local fundraising effort of Maine Farmland Trust and Maine Coast Heritage Trust. The joint campaign is called “Saving Camden Farmland for Farming” to stress that the goal is not simply to preserve open space, but to help revitalize local farming. The goal of this fundraising effort is to raise $303,000, the value of the agricultural easement for these properties.
Maine Farmland Trust recently announced that Rokes Farm will soon be sold to young, experienced farmers with local ties, subject to the conservation easement that ensures the farm is kept available for farming – forever. Due to the easement prohibiting development, the buyers are paying a price based on the fair value as farmland.
Organizers of the event are Conservation Commission members Douglas Johnson, John Evrard, and Carla Ferguson, volunteer Nancy Caudle-Johnson, and Cate Cronin with the Maine Farmland Trust. For more information about the tours, contact Camden Conservation Commission chair Douglas Johnson at 236-6855. For information about Maine Farmland Trust and the fundraising campaign, contact Cate Cronin at email@example.com or 542-2665.