Agreement Would Protect West Bridgewater Farm

The Tedeschi land on East Center Street in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts, acquired from Chief Massasoit around 1650, may be permanently protected from development, The Trust for Public Land announced today.

The Trust for Public Land has entered into an agreement with the Tara Realty Trust LLC, the landowners, to acquire the 74-acre property for $1,130,000. It was once the site of Hayward Dairy Farm operated by the Hayward family providing milk in glass bottles to the Bridgewaters and other surrounding towns for nearly 300 years.

“As the 11th generation member of the Hayward family presently living on the remaining family owned portion of the Old Homestead, the adjacent remaining farmland meets all the criteria for preservation including its irreplaceable historical value. There are rich soils for sustainable agricultural use, mixed forested woodland, bordering vegetated wetlands, a stream, and a variety of wildlife that the depended on those diverse characteristics. And the importance of small farms and farmland preservation is vital to our local food system” said Howard Hayward, descendent to the original farmer on the property, Thomas Hayward.

Working in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Town of West Bridgewater, The Trust for Public Land intends to permanently protect the land with an Agricultural Preservation Restriction and secure a farmer to own and cultivate the restricted farmland. The project partners have until October 10, 2013 to raise the funds for the purchase price and have applied for Town Community Preservation Act funds in addition to State and private funding. If successful, the partners anticipate completing the conservation project on December 2, 2013.

“The Trust for Public Land is thrilled to have this opportunity to work with the Town of West Bridgewater and Tara Realty Trust to ensure that this property is part of a growing network of farms in Massachusetts that will grow local food, not pavement,” said Kevin Essington, The Trust for Public Land’s Massachusetts state director.

Located in a busy commercial area of West Bridgewater, the property had previously been subject to several commercial development plans including a large commercial warehouse, big box retail store or a solar farm. The Town of West Bridgewater has long-awaited the opportunity to protect the Tedeschi Farm, and it is a top priority in the Town of West Bridgewater’s Open Space and Recreation Plan for preservation. The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture is considering the project for the APR program for its outstanding farm soils and for the preservation of community farms in Southeast Massachusetts.

“The Town of West Bridgewater looks forward to preserving this land for agricultural purposes for posterity. The acreage is especially known as the last open vista of land on Route 106,” said Beth Smith, chair of the Open Space Committee.

“My husband, Ronald, and I have lived in West Bridgewater all our lives and remember the Tedeschi property when it was the Hayward Farm. Preserving this old historic farm would be beneficial to the towns’ people for local food, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection in West Bridgewater. The property should be preserved and farmed for the benefit of future generations,” said June Metcalf, of the West Bridgewater Agricultural Committee.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.