Past Projects - before 2015
Farm House Restoration
In 2014 the Town of Suffield secured a $250,000 grant though the Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) to help The Friends restore two of the farm houses on the farmstead.
The Herdsmans House - before.
Restoring houses is not exactly the same as renovating them. The intent of the grant is that the Herdsmans house and Administrators house be restored as closely as possible to their original condition circa 1913.
Both houses have had their roofs replaced and their chimneys repaired. The 100 year old windows in the Herdsmans house have each been painstakingly restored. Damaged siding has been replaced and both houses have been scraped and painted.
The Herdsmans House - after.
Now the focus moves indoors where plaster walls will be repaired, hardwood floors and trim refinished, and the original cast iron steam radiators are being cleaned and put back into service.
Plans are to have work on the Herdsmans house completed this summer. The Administrators house will take a little longer.
Wetlands Mitigation & Enhancement Project
Because Northeast Utilities’ (NU) Greater Springfield Reliability Project disturbed existing wetlands, it was required to offset the environmental impact by enhancing other wetlands.
In 2010 an agreement was signed by the Town of Suffield, The Friends, and Connecticut Light & Power (now
Boardwalk over the wetlands.
Eversource), for removal of invasive species and planting of wetland buffers at the farm.
Wetlands area 11.
Approximately 1.8 acres of new forested/shrub swamp and emergent wetland have been constructed next to existing wetlands.
Also included in the mitigation plan were 12.5 acres
of wetland enhancement and invasive species removal, and 4.9 acres of wetland
buffer enhancement along the present pond, stream, and wetland meadow.
Wetlands area 12-13-14.
Wildlife Habitat Improvement
In 2008 FOFAH signed a 10-year Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) contract with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. The $19,109 contract provides funding to remove invasive vegetation, and mow and plant flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees in a 2-acre pasture area. This will provide an attractive habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds.
We also removed invasives and moved fences in a 4.5-acre wetlands area to keep grazing animals away from the pond and stream to prevent them from fouling the waterways.
This project supported the findings of a 2002 Connecticut Environmental Review Team Report, which complimented the farm’s groundwater quality, soil fertility and ecological diversity.
Two composting toilets with washstands have been installed at Hilltop Farm, one in the manure shed in front of the chicken coop, and the second, a solar powered unit, in the town open space near the livestock barns. Having a toilet available will allow visitors to spend more time enjoying the community gardens and the wetlands trail.
evaporation and odor-free aerobic decomposition. The resulting compost will be used in a separate demonstration garden.
Composting toilets are consistent with Hilltop Farm’s goals of promoting agriculture, conservation, and preservation. They use very little water, no sewage is released into the environment, and they produce nutrient rich compost. The composting toilets have also reduced Hilltops dependence on chemical toilets. The composting toilet project was made possible by grants from the Amiel P. Zak Public Service Fund at
These toilets are a long way from the “pit” toilets you might be familiar with. To the user, these look like a regular bathroom with an ordinary commode. The magic takes place underneath, where a patented rotating drum mechanism mixes waste with other organic material, microbes, enzymes and fresh air to enable
the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the J. Gladwin Cannon Trust.