Patterson Farm Preservation, Inc.
In a devastating blow for farm preservation, the Supervisors of Lower Makefield Township approved a ten year lease to an art group that has left taxpayers at a financial loss for tens of thousands of dollars in unreimbursed maintenance and lawn care expenses in a prior agreement. The art groups' use of the farm is completely non-agricultural and encroaches on the farmers right to farm within the designated Agricultural Security District.
With the signing of the lease, Lower Makefield Township Supervisors have driven an expanding wedge into the heart of the agricultural use of Patterson Farm. The new lease ushers in the first period of time in the farms' 333 year history that there is not a home available on Patterson Farm for a farmer/caretaker. A very disappointing turn of events for farm preservation in Pennsylvania. We had hoped Lower Makefield Township officials would be more supportive of setting aside Patterson Farm as former owners Thomas & Alice Patterson had wished, as an irreplaceable resource for sustainable agriculture. Other more appropriate venues are available for non-agricultural activities.
Rampant development has left Lower Bucks County with few remaining food-producing farms, and perhaps no other farm of the caliber of Patterson Farm. With its exemplary soil types, Patterson Farm is one of the last vegetable-producing farms that border Interstate 95 on the New York to Washington, DC corridor. Non-agricultural activities can be based elsewhere, farming must be done on a farm, preferably with a land steward in residence to properly care for the crops and historically important property.