From the Saratogian Newspaper
Pitney Farm aims to engage Saratoga Springs community
From left to right are nonprofit members Paul and Sandy Arnold, Kathy Pitney, William Pitney and board member Michael Kilpatrick. file photo
Posted: 06/13/16, 4:58 PM EDT | Updated: 1 day ago
SARATOGA SPRINGS >> Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. will unveil a special plan and vision for Pitney Farm, the only farm in the city of Saratoga Springs, on June 26 with a dinner event at the farm site.
The event is intended to engage the community and raise awareness for preserving the farm with the ultimate goal to transform it into a community farm.
Pitney Farm has been active since the 1800s. In the 1930s, it was an airport, but still acted as a farm. The 160 acre farm is now leased by Thomas Poultry Farm and is used to grow corn. Farmers Sandy and Paul Arnold and Michael Kilpatrick have a much grander vision for it, though, and are spearheading this effort to grow the farm into an educational resource for young farmers.
“The average age of a farmer is 57,” Paul Arnold said, adding that it keeps going up. The Arnolds and William and Kathy Pitney want to see Pitney Farm have a more active role in shaping future farmers in the Saratoga Springs community and have a five-year plan with a $15 million budget to turn the farm into a vibrant resource for the city.
“If you don’t have the money you can’t really build it,” said Sandy Arnold. “This first year is acquisition. We’ll have hopefully acquired it by the end of the year and then in the spring we will start with projects.”
Any proceeds from the community engagement event will go toward this goal and the Arnolds and Pitneys expect to see at least 200 people coming out in support.
In a press release, Paul Arnold said that the community farm will be “an amazing nonprofit, community-supported urban farm resource center that will be one of its kind across the U.S.”
The ultimate goal is to be the “face of agriculture” according to Paul Arnold. Sandy added that the project will be very educational based.
“Following up on Saratoga PLAN’s efforts, the city of Saratoga Springs is developing the conservation easement on the farm with the farmers and pro bono site plan development from the LA Group,” Sandy Arnold said in a statement.
Earlier this year, Saratoga PLAN decided not to purchase the land, citing that the farm owner’s vision did not match theirs. The group had originally planned to transform the farm into a regional agricultural hub and protect it form development.
The event starts at 5 p.m. on June 26 and includes a cash bar and buffet dinner.