CONNECTICUT TOUR DES FARMS
“The Last Green Valley” – September 17, 2005 News Article
On Saturday, September 17, the Connecticut Tour des Farms bicycle ride will kick off its third annual ride in Woodstock, Connecticut. That day, riders will be able to select from two routes that will take them to and past several of Connecticut’s most vibrant agricultural operations in Woodstock, Pomfret, and Brooklyn. After the ride, participants will be able to attend the popular annual “Celebrating Agriculture” fair that will be held next to the ride, at the Woodstock Fairgrounds. The following Saturday, a second Tour des Farms ride will be held, originating in New Preston, in the scenic hills of Litchfield County.
The Connecticut Tour des Farms was initiated in 2003 as a project of the Eastern Connecticut Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D), a nonprofit organization with a mission of protecting and enhancing the rural character and agriculture of Eastern Connecticut. Together with partner organizations including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Connecticut Bicycle Coalition, Connecticut Farmland Trust, Travelers Bike Club, and Capitol Region Council of Governments, RC&D designed the Tour to highlight agriculture in Connecticut, as well as promoting healthy lifestyles and locally grown food. The first ride was held in beautiful South Glastonbury. Feedback from the riders and the farms that participated was universally enthusiastic, and the organizers decided to develop the tradition.
Last year’s Tour expanded to two rides, Woodstock and Litchfield. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ivan intervened, canceling the Woodstock ride. Fortunately, most riders who registered for that event were able to ride two weeks later in Litchfield- a ride that was a definitive success. The farms, landscape, and Celebrating Agriculture fair in Woodstock persuaded the organizers to try again in 2005. The ride through the Last Green Valley will stop at several farming operations, including dairy farms, orchards, vegetable and nursery operations, and a vineyard. At each of these stops, riders will be invited to spend their allocation of “Farm Bucks,” to purchase products from these local operations.
This year’s rides will be sponsored by CME Associates, the Woodstock-based Engineering, Surveying, Environmental, and Architectural firm. In addition, several Bed & Breakfasts and Inns in Northeast Connecticut will be partnering with the Tour, promoting “Cycle and Stay” packages that will provide a gorgeous fall weekend in the Last Green Valley. Proceeds from the Tour rides will support RC&D projects focusing on agricultural viability, as well as supporting the Working Lands Alliance, a statewide farmland advocacy group.