Glen Fall Festival highlights importance of the city’s farmland

Tracie Soper pulled out a rose from the bucket of flowers she had and put it in the bouquet she was holding in her left hand.

Soper, a florist in Glen, on Saturday created another bouquet inside the barn of The Glen Conservancy, where several tables had been set up to display the many items people can buy in the town.

Inside the reserve, kids could draw pumpkins using pastels, and people could buy cookies from local bakers, Soper flowers, and scenic artwork by local artists. Outside, people were treated to local music and were able to discover crafts, baked goods and products for sale by other vendors.

“This is to bring attention to what the town of Glen is,” said Michelle Egelston, member of Glen Families Allied for Responsible Management of Land (Glen FARMLand), which helped organize the Glen Fall Festival of Saturday in about 20 days..

One of Glen’s main features is its farmland, Egleston said.

Glen FARMLand has lobbied to keep mega-solar projects off farm properties in the region. The aim of the organization’s festival was to demonstrate the importance of conserving these properties for agricultural purposes, Egelston said.

There is currently a 250 megawatt solar power generation facility proposed for construction in Glen. It was announced in 2020 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as one of 21 large-scale solar projects selected statewide to meet New York’s goal of getting 70% of its electricity to from renewable energy sources by the end of the decade.

The proposed solar panel farm would cover approximately 2,000 acres of land and be capable of providing electricity to approximately 65,000 homes. Information boards have been posted throughout the barn with project representatives nearby to answer residents’ questions and accept comments on the plans.

Egleston said the project would ruin Glen’s beauty.

“We have all these hills that dominate the majestic valley,” she said.

Not only would that be ruined, but life in Glen, where many people depend on people working in agriculture, would be ruined too, she said.

Soper, who operates Glen Cottage Farms on Route 161, believes large-scale solar projects may interfere with food sustainability, she said.

She said climate change causing numerous wildfires across western, northeastern and New York City farms could be called upon in the future to help meet higher demand for food.

“It is only a matter of time before we are called upon to provide food where there might be deficits,” she said.

People from outside Glen also came to support Glen FARMLand, such as Wilta Holloway from the city of Florida. She and three other artists, Lorrie Tesiero from the city of Amsterdam, Marilyn Van Allen from the city of Amsterdam and Connie Zevola from the city of Amsterdam, each brought works of art for sale and also enjoyed checking out. some of the other sellers.

Holloway said the issue Glen faces is all too familiar to her, as she too is a farmer who resides in a town with similar issues. She said the big problem is that the developments are being put on prime farmland, destroying it.

“You will never have a harvest there again,” she said. “We have enough solar power.”

She said you can’t miss the large solar panels along Route 30.

“When you see all that solar it’s disgusting,” she said.

However, not everyone in Glen is against large solar projects. Tanya Cioffi said she was on the fence on the issue. She said that while it might be ugly to look at, it’s up to the landowners what they want to do with their land.

“We have enough people to tell us what to do,” she said.

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Amalia H. Mercado