Keepin’ It Rural
Published by Kentucky Monthly on March 30, 2023
The Bluegrass region is one of Kentucky’s quintessential landscapes. Scenic pastoral views are dotted with bourbon rickhouses. Mile after mile of black fences shelter world-renowned Thoroughbred horses whose bones are strengthened by the calcium-rich soil. Verdant farmland grows food and crops.
With the continued growth of Lexington, Fayette County residents in the mid-1990s became concerned that the agricultural and natural lands of the region were under increasing threat of development. This would be a major loss, of both the rural character of the area and of many rural enterprises that are foundations of Kentucky’s economy.
A group of concerned county residents gathered to strategize about solutions, ultimately creating a nonprofit committed to conservation. The Bluegrass Land Conservancy partners with landowners, offering a tool for them to maintain the traditional rural uses of their land. While landowners retain ownership and the right to sell their property or pass it down to others, conservation easements enable them to voluntarily entrust certain present and future development rights to the conservancy. The process works to protect a property’s agricultural viability, natural habitat and rural heritage in perpetuity.
A Faithful Land Ethic
The permanent conservation of the 650-acre Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse Farm in Marion County was a long time in the making.
The Sisters of Loretto and Co-members make up the Loretto Community. They possess a deep commitment to social and environmental justice and have called their land home for more than 200 years. The Sisters first began talking about conservation in the 1980s. In those early days of the movement, they couldn’t find the right land trust to support their efforts.
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