Imagine a totally green event. The Francis Small Heritage Trust is a local land trust actively working to preserve areas from development and allowing public access to wilderness. Last week the organization held a fundraiser consisting of dinner, concert, and silent auction. Singer and acoustic guitarist Mitch Alden, of Now Is Now, provided the entertainment with great songs and some virtuoso finger picking.
The food for the event was provided by members. An emphasis had been placed on using local ingredients as much as possible. There were delicious lasagnas, salads and desserts- all fabulous. I contributed a pasta salad using chives, perennial onions, arugula, lovage, upland cress, lettuce, red giant mustard, carrots and kale from our garden.
We ate from compostable plates and bowls, and after eating dropped them and leftover food scraps into a barrel labeled “compostables”. A large selection of totally unmatched mugs were brought by members for coffee and water. A member contributed a stack of cloth napkins. Tables were attractively covered with contributed fabrics. Marsha made a floral arrangement for each table consisting of flowers, ferns, and other interesting flora gathered from woods to garden. The glass containers for these we had gotten from the “Take-It Shoppe” at the town dump. The guests were encouraged to take an arrangement home with them.
A silent auction featured products and services contributed by local businesses. I ended up with a gift certificate from Nature’s Way, our favorite local plant nursery, and Marsha hovered over a salt-fired piece of pottery until she was sure it was hers. The auction seemed like a great way to involve the community in a cause.
We have become involved with this group because we totally agree with the philosophy of preserving land. The idea of placing an easement on a piece of land appeals to us. There are many land trusts in Maine, and we have done some research to learn about easements.
An easement is a legal means of insuring that property keeps the use that the owner wants. Rather than having a piece of property covered with buildings and pavement, and thereby taken out of nature, it can be protected to prevent development. An easement can be subject to certain criteria from “forever wild” to simply “not build-able.” Some are farm easements that keep land in farming. Land protected by easements is not taken out of the real estate market. These lands can still be bought and sold. But unlike deeded restrictions, the easement stays with the land.
We love this idea. And the dinner and concert was a wonderful time. It truly amazed us that an organization can put on a fun evening with great food, excellent music, and local products to bid on, all at little cost to the very environment it works to preserve. We were impressed. Very, very impressed. -G.H.