Hi, I'm Caroline Fanning, co-founder and head grower of Restoration Farm. I'm fundraising for a deer fence to protect our vegetable fields at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Nassau County, NY. We incurred enough damage in 2022 that we set up temporary fencing to protect certain crops. Without a permanent solution, it's questionable how much longer our operation—and farming in general—can continue at OBVR.
As business owners, we take pride in covering all of our costs through vegetable sales, and in demonstrating that small-scale farming can be financially viable. That said, we're fundraising for this project because it will be a capital improvement to land we don’t—and never will—own. In fact, our contract clearly states the fence will become the property of Nassau County. But the fence won’t increase our sales or profit margins; it will simply preserve the business we’ve built, so we can continue farming. That said, the fence will enhance the farm’s ability to attract future farmers. In other words, the fence isn’t just an emergency measure for now—it’s an investment in the farm’s long-term future, too.
We believe our partnership with the government and citizens of Nassau County is a success story. For 16 years, we’ve grown food for thousands of Long Islanders without taking on debt. Not only that, we’ve nurtured a community deeply connected to this beautiful piece of land. The public-private partnership that undergirds Restoration Farm is powered by many people and benefits many people. That's why we welcome the support of those who want the farm to continue, both this season and many seasons into the future.
The plan is to install an 8' hi-tensile game fence around the main fields. We have hired LB Fencing, a well-known and reputable company from Pennsylvania, for the job. The fence includes six unlocked gates to facilitate the flow of people and vehicles through the OBVR park. Once installed, the fence will blend with the landscape.
We know $55,000 is a lot of money for a fence, and if we owned the land, we'd install it ourselves. But given our commitment to preserving OBVR’s 19th century ambiance, and the need for a quality product that can stand the test of time, contracting with a professional company is in our best interest, despite the cost. Going on the recommendation of the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, we got estimates from the top two installers on Long Island. Their project descriptions were nearly identical in materials and labor, so we went with the lower bid.
To learn more about this project, and about our farm, visit us here.
Thanks for your consideration.
—Caroline Fanning & Daniel Holmes, Head Growers