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History-Suburban Land

The Food Project has farms in 4 communities: Lincoln, Beverly, Boston and Lynn.

Farming in Lincoln

Originally, The Food Project began growing vegetables on the property of Drumlin Farm.  This is a Massachusetts Audubon Society site in Lincoln, Massachusetts.  After three years, we began a lease on 8 acres of Lincoln town conservation land and moved our farming activities to this site. In 1998, we moved again to the Baker Bridge fields that are some of the best farmland in Lincoln.  This is also town conservation land.  It is located 1/2 mile from Walden Pond in Concord.

Lincoln is about fifteen miles from downtown Boston, yet it retains somes rural character. It is a town well known nationally for its stance on maintaining a large percentage of land in conservation for both agricultural and recreational usage.  We feel quite privileged to have our farming operations based in a town with such a rich history of support for agriculture.

Over the past few years we have been collecting historical information about the Baker Bridge fields.  The primary sources have been conversations with past farmers on the land and town residents.  Here is, to the best of our knowledge some interesting facts:

•  The land was originally owned and farmed communally until the First and Second Division of Concord (1650’s).

•  In the 1650’s, the Billings family acquired a large parcel of land, including the present day Baker Bridge fields.

•  In 1729, the Baker family moves to the Lincoln area.  They married into and absorbed the Billings family and land.

•  In 1760, Baker Bridge road was built in order to allow them easier access to the new town center.  The road divided the land of two Baker brothers Amos and Nathaniel.  The Baker farms were small New England style mixed crop farms.  The two brothers each owned a horse, an ox, and cows.  They split hay, wood, and food crops evenly between their households.

•  On April 18th, 1774, Nathaniel Baker ran into Prescott & Dawes while coming home from courting in Lexington and spread the famous alarm through South Lincoln.

•  In 1899, the affluent Bostonian, James Storrow, bought land including the Baker Bridge South field creating the largest estate in Lincoln at the time.  He leased out the land for a dairy herd and grew hay.

•  In 1900, A.H. Higginson received the Baker Bridge North field as a present from his famous father, founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1881) and donor of Boston Symphony Hall (1900), Henry Lee Higginson.  A.H. Higginson ran the Middlesex Hunt Club on the land, which included a racetrack and a steeple-chasing course.  Later this field was host to a herd of prized Ayshire dairy cows.

•  1930’s Mr. Henderson (founder of Sheraton Hotels) bought the land to preserve the fields and allowed farmers to lease the land.

•  1969:  The Lincoln Conservation Commission acquired the North field from the Henderson Trustees.

•  1970:  The Lincoln Conservation Commission bought the South field from the Van Leer Trustees.

•  1980’s-1993:  The Baker Bridge fields were managed by Verrill Farms.

•  1993-1997:  The Baker Bridge fields were managed by Arena Farms.

•  1998-2002:  The Baker Bridge South field was managed by The Food Project.  The Baker Bridge North field was managed by Butterbrook farm.

•  2003-present:  The Baker Bridge North and South fields are managed by The Food Project.

 

Suburban Agriculture, Beverly


We began growing on our Beverly land during the Spring of 2006. Through a partnership with the Trustees of Reservations we tend 2 acres of their historic Long Hill property. Using sustainable agricultural techniques we have transformed fallow land into a vibrant vegetable garden!

We have been growing 85 crop varieties, including staples such as potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce and specialty and ethnic crops such as arugula, kale, heirloom tomatoes, and swiss chard. We hope that you will come and visit us! Farming at Long Hill has given our young people the opportunity to be a part of larger scale agriculture, and has allowed us to grow even more food to feed those in need on the North Shore

Our partnership began with the Trustees prior to working the Long Hill land when our Summer Youth Program was hosted once a week by another property of theirs Appleton Farms. Hoping to expand our youth programs and create a more economically sustainable/independent farm, The Food Project is looking to add new acreage in the Beverly/Wenham area.

The Food Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

Tax ID: 04-3262532

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