Farmer Augustus ‘Gus’ Griffin of Glinnis Hill Farm worked with the Vermont Land Trust to buy and protect 203 acres in Berlin for local food, clean water and wildlife habitat.
Griffin runs Glinnis Hill Farm, a vegetable farm located on Glinnis Road, with his partner Mollie Podmore.
New farm established with conservation help
After several years working on other farms, Griffin and Podmore wanted to buy land to start their own business. VLT helped them afford their first farm.
Griffin bought the land in 2021 with his parents, Rodman Griffin and Katherine McCabe, and started the farm with Podmore. A few weeks ago, they conserved the land with VLT, with funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB). Conservation funds helped to offset the cost of the land.
“The barriers to starting a farm are high, especially as we compete with developers for prime agricultural land,” said Gus Griffin. “Getting it going would not have been possible without support from VLT.”
“We’re thrilled to support Gus and Mollie on their farming journey and help bring a new farm to central Vermont,” said VLT’s Britt Haselton. “Their focus on sustainable practices, their on-farm events and their efforts to make local food available to more people will bring many benefits to the community.”
Griffin and Podmore worked with Sara Armstrong Donegan, farm business specialist at the Intervale Center, to develop a business plan for Glinnis Hill Farm.
“When the Vermont Land Trust collaborates with dedicated, skilled farmers who build a solid business plan through the Farm Viability program, we can really make progress in preserving our agricultural and rural landscapes,” Donegan said. “This is not an easy process — especially when you consider the market pressure of purchasing land combined with the economic realities of running a farm business. Gus and Mollie are the types of farmers we should be looking to when we think about the future of agriculture in Vermont.”
Making local food affordable
Organic vegetables from Glinnis Hill Farm are sold at the Capital City Farmers’ Market in Montpelier, their farmstand in Berlin, and through a CSA program.
Griffin and Podmore offer a CSA with a sliding-scale payment structure to make food more affordable for low-income customers. They received financial support from the Mountain School to pay for eight low-income CSA shares in 2022.
They are working with NOFA Vermont’s Farm Share Program and also host music events on the farm to raise money to offset the cost of produce for lower-income people.
Supporting clean water and habitat in the Winooski River watershed
The property has over a mile of frontage along Cox Brook and smaller streams that flow into the Winooski River and ultimately Lake Champlain. The conservation easement placed on the farm makes sure that the land along the water’s edge will support native vegetation, clean water and wildlife habitat. Several acres of wetlands have also been protected, along with two vernal pools that provide important breeding habitat for amphibians.
Funding for the conservation protections was provided by VHCB, with matching funds from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service program.
About Vermont Land Trust
Rooted in Vermont since 1977, the Vermont Land Trust unites land and lives for the enduring benefit of people and the place we share. We have protected more than 620,000 acres of land and foster life-long connections to farms, forests, and community spaces that define Vermont. Learn more at vlt.org.
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