The 51-acre Muscente farm on Route 518 in Hopewell Township was preserved by D&R Greenway Land Trust in January 2016. When the farm was offered on the retail market, D&R Greenway acted quickly to purchase it, ensuring that the farm would not be developed. Now that the farm has been preserved, it is back on the market.
“The historic Muscente farm is a critical piece of the Hopewell farming community, close to D&R Greenway’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve and other large expanses of preserved land,” says D&R Greenway President & CEO Linda Mead. “To make sure that it would not be lost to development, D&R Greenway’s Board of Trustees authorized the use of our Revolving Land Fund to preserve it, and the resale of the property to a conservation buyer.”
D&R Greenway is actively seeking a conservation buyer for the property. The property includes a renovated and expanded historic farmhouse surrounded by fields, with long-distance views of the Sourland ridge. Its wide rectangular shape is compatible with any number of agricultural activities that would fit the conservation purpose of the site, from a pick-your-own fruit orchard to a wine vineyard, sustainable market garden, or horse farm.
Any conservation buyer will benefit enormously from the community’s strong support. An active network of diverse producers and a robust market for local products continue to fuel greater Princeton’s vibrant farm economy.
D&R Greenway’s Board of Trustees created the Revolving Land Fund as a mechanism for using private funds to augment public funding sources in order to continue to carry out its mission of preserving land in central New Jersey. “Being able to move quickly to secure a property for open space preservation is critical, especially now when the availability and timing of public funds is uncertain,” says D&R Greenway Trustee Betsy Sands. “D&R Greenway has established the Revolving Land Fund to apply private funding to land preservation. After the land is permanently protected, it can be sold and the funds used to replenish the Revolving Land Fund so that another open space opportunity can be pursued.”
Through the Revolving Land Fund, D&R Greenway has created a new mechanism for private donors to contribute to local land preservation, enabling individuals to invest in their local community with returns that go beyond financial rewards. “Preserving land in our community is critical to protect special places that mean so much to the people who live and work here, and to future generations,” says Mead. “We’re protecting woods for migrating songbirds, farms that grow wholesome food, and recreational areas for people to enjoy. Preserved land protects water quality, improves health and sustains life.”