The Buzzards Bay Coalition recently finalized purchase of a Conservation Restriction on the renowned three-acre farm on Jordan Road and the twenty acres of mature woodlands that surround it.
Permanent protection for the property completes the Dartmouth Coastal Farms initiative, a joint effort by the Coalition and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust to preserve key properties among the town’s scenic and productive farmlands, diverse wildlife, clean waterways and sensitive salt marshes. The project also included the 2019 acquisition and protection of the 128-acre Apponagansett Bay Farm property. The initiative raised a total of $3.8 million in gifts and grants, including $1 Million in charitable contributions from 180 individuals and families in Dartmouth.
The Eva’s Garden property, owned by Eva Sommaripa, is part of a much larger area in South Dartmouth that has been set aside for protection stretching from the Slocum’s River to the Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. Altogether, the area boasts more than 1,000 acres protected from development, preserving the unique mix of farm, forest, meadow and marsh that gives the area its magical atmosphere.
“These two properties represent the best of what’s worth preserving in Dartmouth: productive farmland, scenic vistas, and diverse coastal ecosystems. Once again, we have shown how a partnership of non-profit organizations, local government, federal agencies, and generous individuals can come together to accomplish great things,” commented project partner Dexter Mead of the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust.
Support for protecting the Sommaripa property came from private gifts, the Town of Dartmouth’s Agricultural Preservation Trust Fund, and a major grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“We’re pleased to have partnered with the Buzzards Bay Coalition on the preservation of farmland, farmstead and woodlands at Eva’s Garden in Dartmouth,” said Dan Wright, Massachusetts State Conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
“By providing funding through the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, we’re able to help farmers and partners protect working agricultural lands and prime farmland soils, which provides many environmental benefits for the Commonwealth,” Wright said. “Thanks to Eva Sommaripa and the Buzzards Bay Coalition, this land will remain in sustainable farming for many generations.”
The importance of preserving Eva’s Garden reflects not only the ecological and agricultural value of the land, but also the farm’s renown as a certified-organic grower of specialty herbs, greens, beautiful flowers and delectable vegetables. It’s unique produce is prized by top-flight restaurant chefs in Boston, sold by Whole Foods and other organic markets and the subject of the book, Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Garden.
“With Eva’s Garden, you have this successful organic farm that is also employing people and training them in advanced organic farming methods and in marketing organic produce successfully. Eva and her farm are leaders in the region. We hope that our partnership with Eva helps spread the message to agricultural land owners all around the Bay about the importance of protecting their lands, the options and grants available, and most importantly that the Coalition is here to help them achieve an outcome that is a win-win for both them and our watershed.” said Brendan Annett, Vice President of Watershed Protection at the Coalition.
For Sommaripa, the conservation protection for her property ensures that the area she loves, and has lavished with so much love, will retain its natural beauty. “I came down here with friends when I was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, and I fell in love with the landscape of the Allen’s Pond area,” Sommaripa said. “We bought the property because we loved it down here.”