Once upon a time it was a farm. Now it always will be.
In 1992, a 262-acre farmland and forest property known as the Miller Farm was given to us by Mrs. Henrietta Miller. Once used to raise cattle and horses in rolling pastures, the farm still produced hay, but livestock no longer grazed the fields, and the only inhabitants of the barn were a colony of swallows. With its existing farm infrastructure and high quality soils, the Miller Farm languished as an underutilized agricultural resource. Until the Flemmings moved in.
Land security is a serious challenge to many community-scale farmers who lease, rather than own, their land. Although farmers Trey and Deirdre Flemming had managed a successful community farm in Berks County for several years, the land they leased was suddenly lost when sold to a new owner. What initially looked like an insurmountable hurdle for Trey and Deirdre instead became a wonderful opportunity for Brandywine Conservancy to support local sustainable agriculture by making permanently protected farmland available to farmers in need.
A new lease on life
After successful negotiations on tenancy, Trey and Deirdre relocated their business, Two Gander Farm, to the Miller Farm property in Chester County. Today, fields where only grass grew now put forth row after row of fruits and vegetables. Two new greenhouses and a seed-starting nursery are bustling with activity, and busy bees produce honey in an apiary on a rise above the fields. The Miller Farm has become a demonstration of complementary natural resource protection and sustainable agriculture.
Trey and Deirdre share their delight, “We are tremendously grateful to have the opportunity to lease land at the Miller Farm. Our relationship with the Conservancy has given us the most important form of support for today’s small farmer: access to land. Knowing that this farm has been protected from development has given us the confidence we need to plan and invest in the land for the long term. By growing and selling food locally, we are hopeful that we can benefit our community and demonstrate the importance of farmland preservation.”
By growing and selling food locally, we are hopeful that we can benefit our community and demonstrate the importance of farmland preservation.
-Trey and Deirdre Flemming
We are thrilled that the Flemmings are producing local fresh sustainable food for our community and hope the partnership continues for many years to come. In season, you can purchase organic produce and honey from Two Gander Farm at farmers’ markets in Bryn Mawr, Downingtown, Malvern and Philadelphia. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares are available. Visit Two Gander Farm to learn more and sign up for their CSA.