Farmers Kara and Ryan Fitzbeauchamp of Shrewsbury won conservation awards, the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) announced Sept. 14.
The Fitzbeauchamps of Evening Song Farm in Shrewsbury won the 2023 Eric Rozendaal Memorial Award. The winners received the awards at the land trust’s annual member meeting in Barnard on Sept. 13.
“We’re delighted to celebrate these farmers and educators who inspire with their care for the land and their mission to connect people to healthy food,” said VLT Interim President Tracy Zschau.
Kara and Ryan Fitzbeauchamp of Evening Song Farm received the $5,000 Eric Memorial Rozendaal Award in recognition of outstanding service to community, land stewardship and innovation. The award is given annually to a farmer who honors the legacy of Eric Rozendaal — a thoughtful, creative, and entrepreneurial farmer.
The Fitzbeauchamps started farming and running a vegetable CSA in Pennsylvania in 2009 before moving to Cuttingsville in 2011. Their first farm here was destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene, when Mill River changed course and carved a new riverbed through their vegetable fields. They restarted a few miles away, uphill from the Mill River. They incorporated low-till methods and other practices for soil health on a steeply sloping hillside.
“We’re focused on developing a farm ecosystem that can thrive in a changing climate,” said Kara, “prioritizing the health of the land, farm team, and community for now and into the future. We see the work of farming as climate work and community building, so there is always more to learn, adapt, and experiment with.”
They grow certified organic vegetables and herbs together with a team of farmers and offer a year-round CSA. More than 250 families subscribe to Evening Song Farm’s CSA program. This program includes subsidized low-income shares as well as senior health shares. In addition, they sell to area food co-ops, restaurants and, through grant-funded sales, charitable organizations.
“We feel incredibly grateful to be selected to honor Eric’s important legacy within the thriving Vermont farming community,” said Kara. “Farming has always been about more than food production, and trailblazers like Eric have been models for what new farms can aspire to. We appreciate the support from this grant to augment our ability to serve our community through food and land stewardship. Thank you.”