Peace Field Farm
— we urge you to take some action —

First, the update:

The situation remains complicated because the State of Vermont and Woodstock do not explicitly recognize a restaurant as an Accessory On-Farm Business (AOFB) and, as a result, Peace Field is still waiting for two permits to allow the farm and restaurant to operate as one, integrated business as envisioned.

The ACT 250 Commission was expected to meet in Woodstock at the end of July to consider the project; the meeting was canceled and rescheduled for September 8 at 2:00 pm.

The Woodstock Town Design Review Board, which needs to approve a permit for the AOFB to operate, has asked for final comments and testimony to be submitted by 4:30 pm on September 15; no meeting has been scheduled, but the TDRB has stated that they will close this matter on September 30 and issue a written decision thereafter. According to statute, they have 45 days to do so. We do not believe there is a meeting on August 24 as previously anticipated.

• There have been two articles about Peace Field, one in the Standard on August 6 and the second in the Valley News on August 14. Both of them emphasized the controversy around the project without acknowledging that there is widespread community support for it! So far as we know, there are a very few individuals who oppose this project and many others who have voiced their support. John Holland wrote a response to the Standard article; his letter appeared in the 12 issue. If you haven’t seen this letter, email us and we’ll share a copy with you.

So, what can you do now?

Write a letter to the Act 250 Commission in support of Peace Field Farm.

This doesn’t have to be a long or complicated message. Be sure to include the address and greeting below:

ATTN: Linda Matteson

State of Vermont
Natural Resources Board
District 3 Environmental Commission 100 Mineral Street, Suite 305
Springfield, VT 05156-3168

RE: Act 250 Land Use Permit Application #3W1122, Peacefield, LLC, Woodstock

Dear Ms. Matteson:

[ insert your message here ]

Send a copy of the letter by email to John Holland ([email protected]). [The Act 250 Commission won’t accept testimony from people who are not parties to this matter; as one of the parties, John will submit your message to the commission, as he has with others messages of support].

Write a letter to the Woodstock TDRB in support of Peace Field Farm.

Again, this doesn’t have to be a long or complicated message. Be sure to include the address and greeting below:

Don Bourdon
Chair of the Town Development Review Board
sent by email to Neal Leitner ([email protected])

RE: Application T-5084-20, Peace Field LLC

Dear Mr. Bourdon and other Town Development
Review Board Members:

[ insert your message here ]

You can send this letter by email to Neal Leitner ([email protected]).

We will print emails we receive and send them (yes: on paper!) to the TDRB members to ensure that they receive messages in support of the project. Note: If you’ve already written in support, please submit your letter/email again and share a copy with us. We’ll print it and send it with the other messages we receive.

We’ll e-mail you with details.

We’ll email you with details about how you can attend the meetings later on when we have more information about them.

Thank you for your efforts to help Peace Field Farm! They really do make a difference and it’s important to John Holland and Matt Lombard that they hear about community support for this project.

— Meredith, Jill & Michael

Notable Facts

As we noted, your message of support doesn’t need to be long or complicated. But here are some points you may find inspiring:

  • The Peace Field Farm project is restoring an historic farm that has been dormant for at least a generation, recreating a working farm in the Woodstock community. Most Vermonters prize Vermont’s farms and farm-based enterprises. Yet, between 2007 to 2017 Vermont lost 176 farms and 40,000 acres in agriculture.

  • John and Maureen Holland purchased the historic Conklin Farm on Pomfret Road in 2012. The Hollands began to restore the farmland and made other improvements to the property. Contrary to some statements oppnents have made. everything has been permitted and inspected by the appropriate local or state authority.

  • Matt Lombard from Woodstock, has farmed at Peace Field since 2019 and leased the farm in 2020. He wants to move his successful Woodstock restaurant, Mangalitsa, to Peace Field. The restaurant on the farm is intended to be a small, high-quality restaurant that produces more than half of what it serves to guests on the farm. Currently, eggs and pork and all the vegetables served at the restaurant come from Peace Field Farm and in 2020, restaurant staff harvested and preserved five tons of vegetables for Mangalitsa. When the farm and restaurant are co-located, they can achieve significant operating efficiencies and offer an integrated, farm-to-fork experience for guests.

  • The vision for the farm has evolved. Peace Field could operate as a farm, with the farmer processing food in the barn and holding weddings or other events there. (These are permitted events for an AOFB.) When Matt proposed moving Mangalitsa to the farm, the town and state required additional permits for the project to move forward.

  • The Peace Field Farm project will be an economic boon for the Woodstock community. Lombard projects that the project will provide 10 full-time jobs on the farm and restaurant. In addition, Peace Field Farm/Mangalitsa will provide economic benefits to other businesses in the region as it brings visitors to stay in hotels and B&Bs, shop at local stores, eat in restaurants, and visit other attractions in the area.

  • Vermont farmers need a diversified business model to succeed. Traditionally, that may have been a woodlot or maple sugaring. Vermont Act 143, passed in 2018, allows on-farm businesses. But the approval of this project is an important precedent: Restaurants may not be explicitly permitted under that legislation right now but younger farmers may have other innovative ideas and shouldn’t be constrained because their visions were not explicitly articulated in Act 143.

  • Locals support this venture and look forward to this development. They are eager to support the next generation of farmers in Vermont and eat in the restaurant.