Downtown Greens is working to purchase and conserve a parcel of land that contains living wetlands and mature trees as well as the last farmland in Fredericksburg. It is in the industrial park adjacent to Braehead Farm and would allow us to collaborate with several local groups and expand our reach in the community.
Downtown Greens has brought the community together for more than 25 years. A second campus for the organization would mean conservation of the last agricultural space in the city of Fredericksburg, additional outdoor education and recreation opportunities, and a protected wetlands space that is nurtured and open to the public. Please donate below or get in touch if you want to make a tax-deductible investment in this exciting and ambitious community project!
About the land and our plans:
The unparalleled 56-acre parcel of land is the last of its kind here in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It contains living wetlands, mature trees, and nearly 20 acres of the last working agricultural space in the city. This entire space is what makes it unique and worth saving. Downtown Greens intends to purchase and use this special property to further its mission in the following three areas: Sustainable Agriculture including workforce development, Environmental Education and Land Conservation.
Specific projects and partnerships include:
Workforce Development and Vocational Training
Downtown Greens will partner with Michael Carter, Jr., 11th Generation Black Farmer, of Africulture and Carter Family Farms, a centennial farm in Orange, Virginia, to create vocational and workforce training opportunities in the agriculture field to include all aspects of the industry. The training center would include everything from marketing to small engine repair, from technical writing to food safety training to bring the next generation of Fredericksburg into the agricultural field in ways they might not have known were possible.
Collaborations with Schools
We will be able to bring more hands-on practical training in the fields of agriculture, conservation and environmental justice to young people at The Gladys H. Oberle School and in the Public School System.
Model of an Educational Farm that also provides Food for Those in Need
The region is in the grip of severe food insecurity that has only grown worse through the pandemic. In this context, we are exploring the model used in Fauquier County at its educational farm, www.fauquiereducationfarm.org which grows and harvests food for local food banks while providing hands on training to future farmers.
The robust development that the city is experiencing will require additional open space and recreation opportunities for the well-being of its citizens. The satellite campus will provide an access to nature that is all but disappearing.
Branding and Sale of “FXBG GROWN” Food
Downtown Greens will brand its produce as “FXBG GROWN” as a distinctly hyper-local product and sell to local entities including select farm-to table restaurants and the newly opened Fredericksburg Food Co-op. There is demand for additional produce from Downtown Greens, but with our current property we lack the capacity. This acquisition would provide that opportunity.
New Farmer Incubation
We will provide opportunities for new farmers to sublet land to begin growing their businesses in a controlled and supportive environment with shared equipment and facilities.
he diversity of landscape on the Braehead property will facilitate agrotourism and ecotourism through all channels of its sustainably managed woodland, wetland, and farmland portions. Agro-ecotourism, an important combination of both nature-based and farm-based sustainable tourism, will be seen in our working educational farms, gardens, and market stands. Educational and conservation minded recreation, trail systems, and eco trekking are all ecotourism opportunities that we can offer not just our local community, but all nature-minded communities who wish to experience a beautiful and conserved piece of Virgina. The current use by Braehead Farm brings in tens of thousands of visitors annually (for pumpkin patch, pick your own, and other farm activities).
Wetlands Educational Opportunities
The wetlands area provides ample additional educational opportunities in the conservation, biology and earth sciences fields. Members of the University of Mary Washington have expressed an interest in partnering to use the space as a living classroom. The Brompton Community School, located off the (western) edge of the property, is also very interested in partnering to expand its nature classroom. We are excited by the opportunities this property would provide for field trips and camps that expand upon Downtown Greens’ existing environmental education curricula.
A letter from our President
Brad Smith, President of the Board of Directors, discusses the space and how it fits into Downtown Greens' mission and vision.
Free Lance-star Article
The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reported on the proposed land purchase. Click to read the full article.
Letters of Support
Braehead Buffer Group
City of Fredericksburg Clean & Green Commission
Friends of the Rappahannock
Fossil Free FXBG
FXBG Food Co-op
Gladys H. Oberle School
Rappahannock Sierra Club
The Table at St. George's
Univ. Mary Washington
national PRESS RELEASE
The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) issued a press release about the latest efforts to encourage and support locally-led initiatives to conserve land.