Status: Progress Made
11/1998: In November 1998, NJ voters approved a ballot initiative to preserve open space, farmland, and historic sites, with funding from state revenues guaranteed for the next decade. This legislation created The Garden State Preservation Trust, which was signed into law on June 30, 1999. This source of grant funds will help address the preservation needs of properties throughout the state through fiscal year 2009. The legisltation establishes a state Farmland Preservation Program, administed by the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), to incentivise preservation of NJ’s farmland.
2007: The NJ State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC)’s county grants program – their oldest and largest program – has undergone significant change with the introduction of a new County Planning Incentive Grant Program as an alternative to the traditional county grants program. The new program has proven to be hugely popular; by the end of 2007, 15 counties have developed comprehensive farmland preservation plans that enable them to participate.
For most of its history, New Jersey’s nickname, “The Garden State,” was well-earned. Today, one might wonder where the name ever came from. In some areas of that state, gentle remineders of our agrarian past remain. But Farmlands, and the historic farmhouses and outbuildings that have graced them for hundreds of years, are diaappearing almost daily. According to figures from the NJ Department of Agriculture, we have lost 80,000 acres of farmland in the last decade. Developers usually say that it is not economically feasible to retain the farsteads, and local preservation ordinances, when they exist, generally do not offer enough protection to save these threatened resources. Sometimes, compromises are achieved, but the deals often include moving the buildings, or constructing new homes so close to historic structures or landscapes that historic context is forever lost.
One example of a threatened farmstead is the William Green Farmhouse in Ewing Township, Mercer County. The Farmhouse is located on the land now occupied by the College of New Jersey. It was built in the 1730s by William Green, one of the township earliest landholders. The house features Georgian vernacular architecture and decorative brickwork, and is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Another example of an historic farmstead is the Isaac Troth Farmstead in Evesham Township, Burlington County. Located on a 41 ½ piece of land, this 2 ½ story, 5 by wide, 2 bay deep Georgian/Federal style structure was built circa 1840.
A third example is the Hines House and Farmstead, also located in Evesham Township. A locally desingated historic site, the Hines Farmstead is a collection of six buildings, including a circa 1790 residence, which retains a high degree of architectural integirty, a barn, a garage, and three storage buildings.The main house was cited as an architectural resource by Burlington County in their 1976 publication, “Burlington County Historic Architectural and Cultural Resources for Evesham Township.” A 65 unit townhouse development is currently under construction on the site.
PO Box 506 11 Buttonwood St
Crosswicks, NJ 08515