Beaver Pond Farm lies along McDonough Road, off of the John Stark Highway, in Newport, NH, where it has existed since Revolutionary War veteran William Osgood founded the farm in 1780. Today, the 243 acre farm and the farm stand are still in the family, now run by Becky Nelson (nee McDonough) and her husband Ben Nelson. They grow and sell a variety of fruit and vegetable crops as well as hay, beef, maple syrup, and Christmas Trees. Beaver Pond Farm is a staple in the community, with its longevity proving its ability to adapt and change with each passing decade.
In order to stay sustainable and transition to the next generation, Becky and Ben knew they needed to adapt again. They decided to seek help from the Upper Valley Land Trust. â€œWe decided to conserve our farm so that is can be an undeveloped spot in the community in perpetuity and to preserve our family agricultural heritage in an increasingly difficult environment for small farms and small businessesâ€ said Becky. Together, UVLT and the Nelsons have been working through the process to protect the farm and ensure its future place the community.
In late October UVLT launched a local fundraising campaign to raise the final funds to help conserve the farm. â€œNewport, while a part of UVLTâ€™s service area, is not a town where UVLT has had the opportunity to do many projects. We donâ€™t have the same level of name recognition as in some of our other townsâ€ said UVLT Project Manager Megan Chapman. â€œWe were challenged by a local funder to raise money from the farmâ€™s community to gauge the support for this project. To help us do that we were promised an extra gift of $5,000 if 100 households donated to the project. While stuffing hundreds of envelopes to send to folks who may never have heard of UVLT, I was skeptical that we would achieve our goal. 100 contributing households would be a lot for any project.â€
It turned out it wasnâ€™t UVLTâ€™s name that needed to be recognized, it was the farmâ€™s, â€œThe people of Newport and the surrounding communities responded tremendously to our call to action for this project. It is clear to us, even more now, that Beaver Pond Farm is a beloved and vitally important asset for the community and we are elated by the outpouring of support this project has receivedâ€ said Chapman.
In just two monthsâ€™ time 112 households donated $8,819.75 to the Beaver Pond Farm Project. The 100 household challenge was met and UVLT received another $5,000 for the project, bringing the total raised from the community to $13,819.75. These funds go a long way to closing the gap in the project budget and will aid in closing of the project. Additional funding for this project is provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, The 1772 Foundation, the NH Charitable Foundation, and the sale of the Conservation License Plate (Moose Plate) through the NH State Conservation Committee grant program.
â€œWe are overwhelmed, extremely thankful and humbled by the support from our community,â€ says Becky â€œwe had no idea how much people appreciate our endeavors. We are excited that our farm will be entering this agreement and that we can keep working the land as our ancestors have more than two centuries. Thank you all.â€
As a thank you to everyone who has contributed to protecting the farm, UVLT and the Nelsonâ€™s are hosting a small gathering at the farm stand on February 7th from 4 to 5:30pm.Â Join us for some coffee or hot chocolate and snacks, ask questions about the farm and UVLT, and enjoy some pleasant company.