We've grown by 56 acres!
In a powerful show of community support, more than 522
people came together in four months during 2021 to raise just over 1 million dollars to secure the purchase of an amazing piece of land. Wow!
This 56-acre parcel of land – which had been slated for industrial development – contains living wetlands and mature trees, as well as some of the last farmland in Fredericksburg. Thanks to you, this land will be preserved in perpetuity under the nurturing care of Downtown Greens.
In December 2021, we closed on the property and assumed
a $1.45 million loan. Contributions have covered our down
payment and the first two years of mortgage payments. We
have begun the process of placing a conservation easement on the property and hope to complete it by Spring 2023. After that happens another $750,000 will become available to help pay off the acquisition, but we still need support from our community to cover the remaining $750,000 funding gap. Our goal is to be debt-free as soon as possible.
Please donate below or get in touch if you want to make a tax-deductible investment in this exciting and ambitious community project!
You can also make a pledge to donate to the project and pay later or by installment. Download the fillable pledge agreement below and e-mail your completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org
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: Accessible Greenspace, creation of an Agricultural Training Center, and new opportunities for Nature Based Learning.
A host of studies have proven the health benefits of access to nature for all ages. As the pace of development in the City of Fredericksburg is hastening, open space is becoming more critical and the need to preserve it increasingly essential to the health of our community.
We want to conserve this parcel of land so that future generations can continue to discover unique components of nature. This is one of the last remaining parcels of open greenspace in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and also includes biologically diverse wetlands and active farmland. The second campus will provide a continuation of Downtown Greens' successful open-access garden and green spaces for all to enjoy, with education and community mindedness at its core.
As the premier river conservation organization in the City of Fredericksburg for over 35 years, Friends of the Rappahannock is keenly aware of the intimate link between open space preservation and water quality. In fact our 2018 river report card awarded the Middle Rappahannock a D+ grade for Land Use, due in part to a scarcity of open space conservation in the Fredericksburg area. Preserving this property would raise that grade and provide a rare opportunity for land conservation in a mostly built-out city.
River Steward, Friends of the Rappahannock
Agricultural Training Center
Our goal is to inspire, educate, and equip the next generation to enter the farming industry. Getting young people interested and excited to enter the agricultural field is not only essential for a healthy and equitable food system, it is essential for the health of our planet. New farmers need to be our front line environmentalists, using regenerative and sustainable practices to grow the nation’s food supply.
Among minorities, the urgency of the need to train young farmers is even stronger, with the current average age of a white farmer in the United States being 59 years old, and the average age of a Black farmer being 63 (USDA’s 2017 Agriculture Census). We want to be part of a growing national movement to provide resources to beginning farmers, including those of color, who are integral to the future of our nation’s food security.
We're excited to collaborate with local public school systems and growers to develop an Agricultural Training Center to show 15-25 year olds the wide variety of career possibilities in the sustainable agriculture industry and to help young people of all colors, genders, and backgrounds see themselves in it.
The establishment of this center is in collaboration with Michael Carter, Jr., 11th generation Black farmer and owner of Carter Family Farms, a century farm in Orange, Virginia. The center will include demonstration gardens that will provide food to our community in need in addition to generating income through sales of “FXBG Grown” food to select farm-to-table restaurants and the new Fredericksburg Food Co-op.
The Training Center will focus on teaching youth the mechanics of ‘hands in the dirt’ farming as well as the critical components of managing a successful farm, including everything from marketing to small engine repair, writing to food safety training, irrigation and hydroponics to digital technologies. We want to bring the next generation into the agriculture field in ways that they might not have known were possible or profitable.
Nature Based Learning
Many schools and universities in the area lack easy access to outdoor classroom space. “Nature-Deficit disorder” is a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods and refers to the fact that youth are spending less time in nature, leading to higher rates of ADHD and obesity, higher stress levels, and more. Many studies prove that children not only learn better while taught outside, but tend to learn better once they return to the classroom after outdoor education sessions.
The biodiversity of the land that we plan to purchase is a unique asset to the city of Fredericksburg. This parcel contains an ideal mix of mature trees, wetlands and agricultural space that are local and easily accessible space for these schools to participate in outdoor learning.
The University of Mary Washington has expressed interest in a partnership that would give students access to the land for study. Dr. Keith E. Mellinger, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, describes the land as “well situated to serve the educational and research needs of the University.” He continues: “Our faculty often seek out local areas of representative biodiversity.” With nearly 20 acres of wetlands, the site can become a part of the curriculum for students, helping them connect global environmental concerns with the preservation of natural resources in their immediate community.
The Brompton Community School is located on land adjacent to the parcel and offers its students the benefits of spending much of their days outdoors. Offering their students access to the land would give them additional open space for experiential learning and increase the effectiveness and impact of the school’s programs.
Learn more about our Expansion Project, including maps and our proposed timeline, by viewing our printable Project Prospectus.
Walkaround Land tours
Join us for Walkaround Tours of the new land on Saturday, July 16 & August 20 @9am. Meet at 1360 Belman Road, Fredericksburg VA 22401.
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 Downtown Greens' contract to purchase the 56-acre land parcel.