The Samuel-Stevens property, a 50-acre farm north of Milton has been protected by the Ontario Farmland Trust through a farmland conservation easement. Made possible by the dedication and generosity of the late Mr. Alan Samuel and his wife, the late Valerie Stevens, as well as their children, the easement protects the property’s unique agricultural and natural features in perpetuity.
Mr. Samuel first approached the Farmland Trust in late 2007 indicating his desire to see the farm preserved. He hoped that this project could serve as an example of protecting farmland for the “continuation and further development of sustainable agriculture in Canada.” Farming the property organically since the 1970s, Mr. Samuel hoped that he would provide an example of local food production and land management that respected the ecological integrity of the landscape.
A diversity of natural habitats are found on the property, including wetlands, river corridors and woodlands. There are also two spring-fed ponds on-site and an oak swamp forest. Twenty-five acres are productive farmland. In addition to protecting the land for its agricultural value, the easement ensures conservation, maintenance, restoration and enhancement of natural features.
Mr. Samuel wanted to leave the land for future generations of farmers. His youngest daughter, Marion, and her husband Ian, have found several farmers to work the land this spring, keeping the rich loam soil in production. Through FarmStart and the FarmLINK online “match-making” tool, they advertised the farm as an opportunity for new and beginning farmers. Luckily, a match was found and tractors will now be out on the fields again as a new small-scale farm enterprise takes root and a legacy in sustainable agriculture carries on.
Supported by the Ontario land Trust Assistance Program – an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Initiative that assists land trusts with land securement costs to help conserve Ontario’s biodiversity.