Emma/Betsky Reflection

This morning I took a stroll around my family’s property, which stretches over 10 acres of preserved farmland and boasts expansive views of the surrounding village and forested hills. Established in the late 1700s, our property was structured to maximize use of the surrounding hay fields which have served as the land’s main contribution to the local farm community. New construction of any kind is strictly prohibited on this land, a rule that has been adopted by large swaths of Hunterdon County property owners, in an effort not just to maintain the visual beauty of the scenery, but to sustain the centuries old networks of orchards, cattle farms, nature preserves, and watersheds that define and support our local communities. I can see many parallels between Betsky’s description of Dutch history and their relationship with land, and the organized efforts made to preserve their way of life that relies so heavily upon nature. It is apparent in my surroundings that sustainability has been heavily built in to the fabric here–families that have lived on the same property for centuries have respected the boundaries of their influence, and despite some local businesses that have been moderately successful in their production off the land, no one seems to possess the desire to drastically change the nature of our town. I have photographs from the previous owners of our home that show just how little has changed here, and that is really something to behold in this world we live in.

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