DALLAS — Area residents gathered at the Huntsville Golf Course on Sunday night for the seventh annual “Taste the Local Harvest” event that raised money for the North Branch Land Trust and supported local growers.
Barbara Romanansky, NBLT director of development, said supporting local farmers, growers, vintners, and brewmasters was consistent with the organization’s mission of conserving “scenic, natural and working landscapes that sustain us.”
“Without green spaces, there would be no farms,” she said.
Romanansky, addressing attendees, said many area farms were facing additional challenges because of recent flooding and encouraged them to shop locally.
Mike Weaver, a past president of the organization, was attending the event with his family as an opportunity to support the land trust and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the golf course.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors as a skier, hiker, hunter, fly fisherman,” he said. “so being part of this organization was consistent with what I think is important.”
Caitlin Weaver, his wife, stressed that the goals of the NBLT benefit future generations.
“It’s a great to be able to preserve green spaces for our children and grandchildren,” she said. “We have five children, so that important.”
“Preservation of those spaces is so important,” said Mike Weaver, “What would New York City be without Central Park?”
“People don’t realize how important open areas are,” said Caitlin Weaver. “We have friends who bring a young girl to the area through the Fresh Air Fund program in the summer. She wouldn’t have the opportunity to see these green wide-open areas where she lives.”
Paul Lumia, executive director of the NBLT, said the event was a major fundraiser for the organization.
“It’s also a way to educate people about what we do,” he said. “The harvest theme emphasizes the concept of “from farm to table.”
Lumia said the organization, founded in 1993, is based on a simple goal.
“We purchase or people donate development rights on land,” he said. “And we ensure conservation of those areas.”
Lumia said the organization has most recently purchased a tract of land in Bear Creek Township near Crystal Lake.
“The land and the lake will provide a nice block of land for recreation and appreciation of the outdoors,” he said.
Lumia said the nonprofit organization has about 850 active members.
“I would describe them as being a group of committed members of the community who are basically environmentally sensitive,” he said.
Looking out at an ornately decorated tented area which provided attendees a chance to enjoy a view of the outdoors during their meal, Caitlin Weaver said, “This is a great event. We look forward to it every year.”