Purchased by Jonathan Pitney in 1862 to provide vegetables, meats and dairy to guests staying at his boarding house on Grand Avenue, the Pitney Farm was the last working farm in Saratoga Springs when Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. purchased the 166-acre property in December, 2016. Through interviews with those who are engaged in the effort, we tell its story.
In November, 2016, two back-to-back unanimous votes by the City Council paved the way for the preservation of Pitney Farm in perpetuity and the acquisition of the 166-acre property by Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. For Mayor Joanne Yepsen, “It was like a dream come true.”
When in 2014 Bill Pitney started thinking about about doing something with the farm that had been in his family for 150 years, he asked Tom Stock to make a photographic record of the property, before its transformation began. We provide a sampling of Stock's photos that Pitney included in the albums he gave to his sisters for Christmas, 2015.
In the early 1800s, the property we know today as Pitney Meadows was called "Bacon's Lot," a bit of history we know thanks to Saratoga Springs historian Field Horne. Author of a history of the farm published by Saratoga Living, Horne is one of several volunteers who aim to establish the Pitney Farm Historical Center.
It’s been a long journey for Sandy Arnold in her effort to preserve the old Pitney Farm and launch the new Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. But she's still going strong, supported by an experienced board of directors, a well-connected advisory board, and more than 100 volunteers.
Data is at the root of Paul Arnold’s effort to reduce inputs and increase outputs at Pleasant Valley Farm, which he established in 1988. With his wife Sandy, he has developed advanced systems to increase the farm’s profitability, techniques they aim to someday teach to young farmers at Pitney Meadows.
As executive director of the Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA), Teri Ptacek has facilitated dozens of conservation easements, the complex legal documents that guarantee the conservation of farmland in perpetuity. ASA has helped to protect 17,000 acres of prime Upstate New York farmland, including the Pitney Farm.
Barbara Glaser's long experience with open space issues was just what Saratoga Springs needed in the late 1980s. That's when Kayadeross Park was sold to a developer and the public lost that access to Saratoga Lake. Glaser took the lead in establishing the Saratoga Springs Open Space Project, which paved the way for the City's adoption of the Open Space Plan in 1994.
How do you make the most of 166 acres of prime farmland and woodlands near the center of a thriving Upstate New York city? Mike Ingersoll has a pretty good idea. As a principal in charge of design services for the LA Group for 30 years, he's been developing the site plan for Pitney Meadows Community Farm since last spring.