Visioning Process for Heath Farm Property
Bethlehem Launches Visioning Process
With Local Elected, Civic Leaders, Regional Stakeholders
Historic Heath Farm Project Story Map & Survey and Community Advisory Committee to guide a vision for over 300 acres of farmland in Glenmont and Selkirk.
BETHLEHEM, NY - On Thursday, June 15, Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven was joined by local elected officials, civic leaders, and regional stakeholders to launch the Historic Heath Farm Project Story Map & Survey and announce the formation of a Community Advisory Committee that will guide a vision for over 300 acres of farmland in Glenmont and Selkirk.
The event took place at the Heath Barn & Silo, located at the intersection of Wemple Rd and Route 9W in Glenmont. Earlier this year, the Town purchased 307 acres of farmland. Purchasing the land was the first and most critical step in ensuring this land will remain open for continued agricultural production for generations to come. The potential future uses of the site are exciting, as they could help to create a regional hub for agriculture and the environment, as well as an Agritourism destination. As the Town explores various opportunities for the property, especially land uses that will support local agriculture, our environment, and our community, we encourage the public to visit the Initiative online, delve into the StoryMap, and participate in the Community Visioning phase!
""Farms are part of Bethlehem's culture and landscape," said Bethlehem Town Supervisor David VanLuven. "We are committed to working in partnership with interested landowners to keep our farms growing crops and food rather than subdivisions, and I am so proud of the work of our great Town staff and the commitment of the Town Board to keep these lands in agriculture for another 250 years."
"We are very excited to be able to partner with the Town of Bethlehem on this wonderful opportunity," Albany Stratton VA Medical Center's Public Affairs Director, Bethlehem town resident, and Veteran Peter Potter said. "Part of VA's mission is our dedication to environmental stewardship. This new initiative helps continue that dedication through land conservancy and farming, all while contributing to our mission of providing the best care available for our nation's Veterans."
"VA provides many therapies as part of our Wholehealth approach to care, therapies that encompass a range of treatments involving various activities that promote physical and mental health," Potter explained. "Working with farmland, land management, or even with animals like with equine therapy, allow Veterans to immerse themselves in activities that provide feelings of accomplishment and purpose. Veterans have been very appreciative of these various choices of therapies, which have proven to be very successful. We look forward to our new partnership with the Town of Bethlehem as we work together in providing the best care available to our nation's heroes."
"American Farmland Trust supports and applauds the visionary approach of the Town of Bethlehem's Heath Farm Initiative. Not only does this project protect farmland from development, it protects it FOR farmers," said Linda Garrett, New York Regional Director
American Farmland Trust. "This project has great potential for the creation of new opportunities for young and emerging farmers, strengthening the regional agricultural economy, and honoring the legacy of the Town of Bethlehem's farming community. We look forward to working with the Town and other stakeholders as they begin the visioning process."
"The Historic Health Farm Initiative is going to be an incredible anchor destination for Albany County's growing Agritourism industry. Discover Albany is witnessing first hand that the current generation of travelers are actively searching for sustainable travel options, and seek authentic experiences with our local farms," said Maeve McEneny-Johnson, Discover Albany. "Whether it's enjoying farm to table meals, toasting with friends with local craft beverage, or choosing eco-friendly hotels, Albany County has it and the Historic Health Farm Initiative will be the perfect jumping off point for the newest eco-minded traveler."
About the Farms & Forests Fund
Established in 2019, the Farms & Forests Fund helps interested landowners keep farms, forests, and fields in Bethlehem. Bethlehem partners with landowners, conservation groups, and agricultural nonprofits to ensure that our community's rich landscape of farms and forests, meadows and creeks, persists alongside our residential neighborhoods, commercial districts, and industries. Find out more about the Farms & Forests Fund and other conservation projects on the Town website.