Lancaster farming. (Lancaster, Pa., etc.) 1955-current, April 29, 2000, Image 29

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    Fanners Have Say In
Conestoga Valley Region Plans
Lancaster Farming Staff
LEOLA (Lancaster Co.)
Various development projects
throughout the state occur with
out much input from the com
munities that they affect.
Farmers in Cumberland
County are frustrated by a plan
to add a proposed Exit 7 to
Route 81, which would condemn
farmland without consent from
the Ag Security Board. Other
farmers are combating develop
ment and road expansions that
limit their ability to farm.
However, farmers in the
Conestoga Valley region of Lan
caster County have the opportu
nity to be involved in
development plans from the
ground up.
The Conestoga Valley strate
gic comprehensive plan is a new
approach to community plan
ning for Lancaster County and
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the southcentral Pennsylvania
region. The process takes about
18 months and involves the
entire community.
“Traditionally the planning
consultant would have drawn
up the plan and then let the
community respond,’’ said
Cheryn Fogarty, the project
manager for Community Plan
ning Consultants, Inc., a group
contracted by the Lancaster
County Board of Commission
ers to facilitate the process. “In
this approach, the community is
more in the driver’s seat. Public
involvement is integrated
throughout the entire process.’’
On Tuesday evening at the
Upper Leacock Municipal
Building, the Community Plan
ning Consultants hosted the
third of four focus groups, in
which community members, in
cluding farmers, could discuss
what they want to see in the
future of their community.
About 30 people attended the
focus group, which was phase I
in the community-based plan
ning process. The goal of the
focus groups is for the planning
commission to gain a better un
derstanding of what community
members want.
Those who attended the focus
groups were asked three ques
tions what do you like most
about your community, what do
you like least about your com
munity, and what would you
like this plan to do.
“The focus groups really es
tablished the issues that the
community members have,”
said Fogarty. “The discussions
have been about the character of
the community. The people at
tending the meetings value their
farmland and small villages.
They also have issues with
Route 23 traffic that threatens
those values.”
While the phase I focus
groups are occurring, Fogarty
and her colleagues are also de
veloping background profdes on
the area’s land use, transporta
tion, environment, and commu
nity services.
Community-Based Farm Brings
Farmers And Consumers Together
(Continued from Page A 27) market their products to cus
tomers,” said Peggy. “We are
harvest twice a week. We hosting an organic cooperative
stagger our planting so we are so that members can have access
harvesting throughout the to most 0 f t h e products they
summer.” need.”
In addition to the produce
and crops on their farm, Peggy
and David currently offer home
raised honey and are hoping to
soon offer bread.
“We are looking for other or
ganic farmers who are interested
in direct marketing,” said
Peggy. “They could do that
David and Peggy hope to
expand their business to offer
other organically grown foods to
their shareholders and custom
ers. On their farm, they are cur
rently offering naturally raised
chicken and eggs from Philip
Landis in Ephrata and organic
milk and juice products from
Natural By Nature of West
“We want to provide a place
for other farmers to direct
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“We want to determine where
the area is heading and what the
probable future is,” said Fo
garty. “Then, in September, we
will host a regional forum where
we can present our findings
from the focus groups and find
out from the community what is
acceptable and not acceptable in
the plans.”
The regional forum will also
be an interactive event for
people living in the Conestoga
Valley region, which includes
Upper Leacock, West Earl, and
East Lampeter townships.
Based on the feedback from
the regional forum, Fogarty and
her colleagues will then move
into phase 111 of the process,
which involves developing strat
egies at the regional level re
garding land use, roads, water,
sewer, and other development
Phase IV is when they pre
pare the policy plan, which
shows community members
what will get them to where they
David is the 10th generation
to farm in Lancaster County.
Having a background in com
munity building, Peggy helped
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, April 29, 2000-A29
want to be. Phase V will be when
the action plan is formulated,
and phase VI is when the com
munity will adopt the plan.
“This plan will set the direc
tion for the next 20 years in this
community,” said Fogarty.
“We’re modeling the Conestoga
Valley region process after the
plan we just finished in the War
wick/Lititz area.”
According to Fogarty, the
community approach to plan
ning was very successful for the
Warwick/Lititz area.
“We got a fantastic response
from the community on the
plan,” said Fogarty. “17 out of
the 34 strategies outlined in the
plan have already been adopted
by the community.”
“It’s a new approach for Lan
caster County,” she said. “But it
really brings into partnership
the community, the consultants,
and the planning commission.
Community members will play a
key role in the future of their
with community gardening proj
ects in Costa Rica. Both Peggy
and David completed intern
ships on other organic farms.
“We had the idea to develop a
community-based farm before
we moved to this area,” said
Peggy. “We completed an in
ternship on Spiral Path Farm in
Perry County, which stimulated
the idea of starting something
similar to Spiral Path in the
Ephrata area.”
“It’s very difficult to find or
ganic foods in this area,” said
Peggy. “We’re hoping to give
our customers what they want
while building a strong sense of
community among the share
holders and the farmers.”