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Ricketson Farm

The 217-acre Ricketson Farm is the central farmstead that defines the northern scenic gateway to Stowe. Surrounded by conserved farmland, it greets you as you drive into town from Morrisville along Route 100 and bids you farewell when you head north out of town.

The Case for Conservation

In the early 1900s, there were over 200 farms in Stowe. Today, there are fewer than 10. Despite the dedication, hard work and resilience of Stowe’s  farmers, that number is at risk of dwindling further.

The Ricketson Farm is Stowe’s most prominent and productive remaining farm. It is unique; there is no other property like it in town. In addition to defining the northern scenic gateway to Stowe, the farm has 115 acres of excellent, tillable agricultural soils that could support a wide variety of farm enterprises, is surrounded by conserved farmland and includes a barn and farmhouse.   This conservation effort will help to keep land in Stowe that is best-suited to farming accessible and available for that use.

The northern, forested section of the Ricketson Farm contains a rare peat bog and is part of a regionally-important wetland complex that extends into Morristown and includes Molly’s and Valcour Bogs. Permanently conserving these important wetlands will maintain vital habitat for a diversity of plants and wildlife an d ecosystem services like carbon storage, water quality protection and flood reduction. A degraded section of Moss Glenn Brook that runs through the farm along Route 100 will also be restored and protected with a separate river corridor easement, leveraging the project’s investment in clean water, healthy habitats, and flood control.

Together, its exceptional agricultural, water, and scenic qualities make the Ricketson Farm among the top conservation priorities for the Stowe community and Stowe Land Trust. Conserving this unique property means protecting Stowe’s farming heritage and future, our land-based tourism economy, our local quality of life, and our community’s wellbeing in the face of climate change.

The Threat

The Ricketson Farm is in transition and at risk of being lost forever to development if the farmland is not protected now. The next act in the play about local farming on the Ricketson Farm is yet to be written. But by conserving the land as the “stage”, we can ensure there will be a next act in a landmark play.

How You Can Help

Stowe Land Trust and Vermont Land Trust are applying for $1,263,000 in federal and state funding from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to help conserve the Ricketson Farm and Ken Ricketson is generously making a significant donation in value to the conservation effort. But we must also secure $1,247,000 in local support to cover acquisition, project, and stewardship endowment costs. Your support will make a difference. This rare opportunity to protect Stowe’s farming heritage and future will also protect the northern scenic gateway to Stowe, regional ecological health and our community’s wellbeing. Please join us.

Project Highlights

  • Conserve 217-acres of farmland in Stowe including 115 acres of prime tillable land
  • Keep the Ricketson Farm open and available for agricultural use for future generations
  • Protect and restore a degraded section of Moss Glen Brook
  • Protect an ecologically rich wetland complex

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much money does Stowe Land Trust need to raise? $1,247,000 in local support from private donors and the Town of Stowe. Ken Ricketson has generously committed to a significant donation toward the project through a >30% bargain sale of the conservation easement. Vermont Land Trust and Stowe Land Trust have been granted $1,063,000 through the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and are applying for an additional $200,000 in funding.

  • How will access for future farmers and farm businesses be ensured? The conservation easement guarantees that the farmland will not be developed and will remain available for farming. It also gives the land trusts the option to purchase the farm at its agricultural value and sell it back to a farmer if the farm would otherwise be sold to a non-farmer outside the Ricketson family. The land trusts and their partners can also help connect Ken Ricketson with business and transition planning assistance now and with new farmers looking for land when he is ready to sell.

  • Will there be public access and trails? No. This is a working farm, and the primary purpose is to allow the farmer to farm the land. Ken Ricketson currently gives permission for a VAST snowmobile trail to pass through the farm. He and any future owner will be able to continue to allow that use and any other public access at their discretion.

  • Will the land be taken off the property tax roll after being conserved? No. It will continue to be privately owned and enrolled in Stowe’s Farmers Contract program.

Click here for a full list of frequently asked questions

Map of Project Area

Locator Map

Listen to Ken's father and uncle talk about the history of the Ricketson Farm. Audio recordings courtesy of Stowe Speaks, an Oral History Project of the Stowe Historical Society. 

Our Family's Arrival in Stowe

Our Father and Dairy Farming

Bringing Our Milk to Market

From Goat Power to Electricity

Farm Chores

Neighbors and the Ski Jump

Summers on the Farm

How Stowe and Morrisville Differed