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Land protection focus of Shenandoah Forum workshop

By Sally Voth

Land protection will be the focus of a free Farm-to-Table dinner and workshop being hosted by Shenandoah Forum on April 10 at the Edinburg Mill.

Shenandoah Forum promotes Shenandoah County's agricultural heritage, the environment and a sustainable economy, all of which are called for in the county's comprehensive plan.

"The county has done a really great job," Shenandoah Forum Executive Director Kim Woodwell said Thursday in a phone interview. "They have funding for land protection right now."

Shenandoah County also has hired planner Patrick Felling to support agricultural resources, she said.

Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Matt Lohr will be the event's guest speaker.

"He's a wonderful advocate for just the valley in general and for farm land protection," Woodwell said.

A "locally sourced meal" will be provided by Swover Creek Farm and Country Rhodes, she said.

Woodwell said the county's comprehensive plan strongly supports land conservation. She noted that many times it's the benefits to the landowner that are focused on when land conservation is discussed.

"We as a community can get some very significant, not as well-touted, benefits of having land in protection," Woodwell said.

Woodwell said she believes benefits can include keeping taxes down, opening more land for farming and increased tourism in the region.

"People like to come out and see the pretty viewsheds," Woodwell said.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m., but the doors will open an hour earlier for an exhibit of photography and artwork by local artisans. The idea for the exhibit came out of planning for the workshop, according to Woodwell.

"We all started to have these visualizations of these working farms and mountain views and rural landscapes," she said.

Those who would like to attend the dinner and workshop are asked to RSVP by Wednesday either by calling (540) 984-7003, or emailing info@shenandoahforum.org. For more information, visit www.ShenandoahForum.org.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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