MeadowoodPhoto credit: Steve Burns

In the 1940s, as a student at Atlanta’s Morehouse College, Martin Luther King, Jr., spent two summers working in the tobacco fields in the Farmington Valley. These summers allowed King to experience church services, dances, and meals in an integrated setting. “After that summer in Connecticut, it was a bitter feeling going back to segregation,” King wrote.

The Meadowood project covers 288 acres of rolling fields and rows of tobacco barns, the same ones that a young Martin Luther King, Jr., looked upon during his summers in Simsbury. But the threat of development looms over this special place. The land is fully permitted and approved for 296 new homes. The Trust for Public Land has secured first rights to acquire all 288 acres before a single house is built. But we can’t do it without your help. We must raise $6.5 million in order to protect Meadowood as an open space for the whole community.

This land sits between a state forest and a 4,400-acre wildlife refuge, if we’re able to save it, we’ll connect the Massacoe State Forest and McLean Game Refuge creating an expansive network of new trails and access points for hiking and exploration for neighbors and visitors. A conservation easement will also protect 117 acres as a working farm. The town will lease the land to local farmers to maintain Simsbury’s pastoral scenery and local food system. Protecting this land will lift up a little-known chapter of civil rights history, expand the local food system, and create a new place for people to connect with nature.

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