Agricultural Stewardship AssociationAgricultural Stewardship Association

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Conservation Stories

Since its inception in 1990, ASA has helped landowners protect a variety of working lands throughout Washington and Rensselaer counties.
Hepatica Farm

Spring Brings Change

Arthur Kraamwinkel and Melanie Seserman chose the name Hepatica for the 100-acre farm they purchased this winter in Greenwich for several reasons. First, it is the name of the main character in the children's book “House Above the Trees” by Ethel Cook Elliot in which the author explores the idea that nature is more than meets the eye.

Arthur and Melanie plan to create a diversified, biodynamic farm with poultry, pork, lamb, vegetables and dairy. They will sell their products directly to consumers. Arthur says “the biodynamic approach to farming begins with the notion that nature is a living organism that requires the cultivation of our sensitivity in order to understand its finer, less noticeable processes.”

Hepatica nobilis is also the name of an early spring flower. Arthur and Melanie hope that biodynamic farming will blossom and become more widespread, just as Hepatica nobilis starts out small and tender, but promises a summer abundant with activity and life.

Farming has been a lifelong dream for both Arthur and Melanie. Arthur has been involved in agriculture since he was a small child in the Netherlands where he helped on his grandfather’s vegetable farm. Melanie was born in a farming family in the Midwest and spent many of her vacations on the farm as a child. She later worked as a gardener and trained in biodynamics. Equity Trust (a Massachusetts nonprofit) worked closely with ASA to find the right farmer and figure out the strategy for protecting this farm.

Equity Trust's Hudson Valley Farm Affordability Program paid for the purchase of the conservation easement that includes an affordability restriction on the property, ensuring that in the future, the property can only transfer to working farmers. Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT provided a loan to finance the purchase of the farm.

 “Conserving the land assures us that the farm will be farmland forever and that it will remain unaffected by sprawl. That is extremely important to us. The conservation easement also has made the purchase of the farm affordable, something we are extremely grateful for.” – Arthur Kraamwinkel

Funding for this project was provided by Equity Trust and ASA’s Forever Farmland Campaign. Visit Equity Trust at www.equitytrust.org to learn more about their work.

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