There are precious agricultural lands located in a loop of the North Saskatchewan River, right in the North East of the City of Edmonton. These amazing 233 acres contain both old growth forest (at 93 acres, this is Edmonton’s largest!) and extremely fertile agricultural lands. The owner, Doug Visser, wants to put an Easement on all the land, to conserve it as both forest and agricultural lands, in perpetuity.
There are several amazing elements to these lands: The forest represent Edmonton’s largest old growth forest, thus has a great diversity of species, and the agricultural lands are gently sloping south-facing soils that are wonderfully fertile. In addition to 143 prime acres of market garden cropping, 10 acres are devoted to Lady Flower Gardens (LFG) a social justice community garden with a large insulated yurt used for community events. The landowner allows LFG to be used by many disadvantaged, impoverished, and immigrant communities, and apart from the benefits of connecting with the outdoors and the soil, the participants in the tending, weeding and harvesting duties, may share in the earth’s bounty at the end of season, with the surplus donated to such agencies as the Food Bank. They may also be guided on interpretive walks in the forest, to further their experiences in nature.
Unfortunately, residential development is increasingly pressuring the agricultural and wildlands of Lady Flower Gardens and the agricultural lands south of it. The landowner wants to solve this problem by placing a Conservation Easement (CE) on the land, held by the Edmonton and Area Land Trust (EALT). It will be EALT’s perpetual legal responsibility to monitor and protect this land forever, no matter who owns it in the future. This CE will allow Lady Flower Gardens to become a catalyst for the development of a deeply rooted collaborative neighbourhood in which Edmontonians can learn to live sustainably with the land and each other, and will ensure no development threatens the wildlands and ag-lands in the future, and will help provide for local food security for the region.
Donations to this campaign will assist EALT with the “Front End” costs (mainly in the first year) associated with setting up a conservation easement. This includes several types of activities essential to the out of pocket work of securing a conservation easement, including:
- Working with the Government of Alberta and Environment Canada to place the CE
- Legal Fees to create and register the Conservation Easement agreement with Land Titles
- Professional external Fair Market Value Appraisal Fees
- Baseline Documentation Report – an inventory of the land, wildlife, and other features
The landowner, Doug Visser, has agreed to match any public donations up to $10,000. It should be noted that this generous individual has also donated $70,000 to a matching stewarding endowment. This effort simply needs to be successful.