The Vermont Technical College (VTC) and Upper Valley Land Trust (UVLT) have sent the Selectboard a “Joint Statement Regarding Norwich Farms”. It is in the Selectboard packet for April 25 and available separately here.
This blog has several posts related to Norwich Farms. See Upper Valley Land Trust To Purchase Norwich Farms, Norwich Farm Creamery At Odds With UVLT and VTC? and UPDATE On Norwich Farms: VTC To Remove Creamery Equipment In May.
VTC and UVLT both “seek to create a strong and sustainable future for this valuable community resource,” says the Joint Statement.
The document recounts that VTC “determined last summer [to consolidate] its agricultural programming on its Randolph campus. In Randolph, the College has the land base, faculty expertise, and infrastructure to best serve its students.” In March, UVLT exercised its option to purchase the Norwich Farms from VTC. The College has “discontinued educational programming at Norwich Farm, will remove its dairy processing equipment from the site, and will otherwise prepare the property for sale to UVLT per the option agreement.”
In apparent reference to the possible dislocation of Norwich Farm Creamery without mentioning it by name, UVLT says that it “understands that strong feelings exist about this property and its future and remains committed to exploring the best future for the site, including the possibility of working with/hosting viable farm/agriculture operations there.”
Upkeep of the property is not inexpensive. “UVLT expects to incur approximately $60,000 - $80,000 in costs annually, before utilities, to maintain more than $1 million of farm buildings and land located at Norwich Farm in good working order in perpetuity.” To offset those expenses, UVLT is “soliciting proposals from potential partners for projects that would use part or all of the Norwich Farm property.”
UVLT then explains the type of proposals it seeks and the ongoing review process.
Successful proposals to use the facilities at Norwich Farm must be economically sustainable, be of benefit to the local and broader Upper Valley Community, be consistent with UVLT's original conservation goals for its adjacent conserved land, and meet UVLT's obligations as a non-profit to use charitable dollars only for its charitable purposes. Proposals should not require subsidization from UVLT. A committee consisting of UVLT board members, supported by an independent consultant and trusted advisors, is currently reviewing proposals from non-profits and other agriculture-based organizations for future use of the farm.