With the completion of paperwork and the signing of the agricultural conservation easement in December, Barnard’s Orchard, a Chester County
landmark for over 150 years, is now officially protected in perpetuity. The easement adds over 70 acres to already-protected lands in Newlin Township. The project was made possible by the Barnard Family and The Land Conservancy for Southern Chester County’s (TLC) partnerships with the Chester County Challenge Grant Program, the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and the Marmot Foundation. Community support also played a crucial role as TLC worked to raise the last of the project funds earlier this year. Because of these contributions, the Barnard’s Orchard property will remain in active agriculture forever.
Barnard’s Orchard is a fourth-generation family farm that was established in 1862. The Orchard has expanded over the years and now provides apples, peaches, blueberries, flowers, and other produce year-round through the on-site store. The Barnard family has worked with TLC over the past two years to complete the easement and ensure that the property will remain in agricultural use. The family will maintain ownership of the property while TLC and the Chester County Agricultural Land Preservation Board will co-hold the easement and act as guardians of its provisions.
The easement also protects Barnard Run, a valuable first-order tributary of the Brandywine Creek and its robust riparian buffer and woodlands. These protected natural resources improve water quality for wildlife and the area residents who rely on the Brandywine Creek watershed for their drinking supply.
“Barnard’s Orchard is a crown jewel, with many local multi-generational customers and a family intent on embracing their legacy within the community; this is the success story of the year,” said Gwen Lacy, TLC’s executive director. But she went on to caution that, for every success story like Barnard’s, there are at least two other family farms that are developed. “We know that we must remain vigilant, and as a result of the outpouring of support for Barnard’s, TLC has created a program called Funds for Farms so that residents can continue to be part of the solution in southern Chester County. There was such an outpouring of support for Barnard’s; we are hoping to harness that power and replicate it so that other farmers can recognize income while conserving their farms in perpetuity.”
For more information, visit the TLC website.