Wood Family Farm by Conservation Trust for Florida

Freddie Wood and his family recently finalized their dream of protecting their 172-acre family farm in Evinston with a conservation easement. The farm has been in the Wood family for over 100 years and has been designated as a Century Pioneer Family Farm by the Florida Agricultural Museum.

The Alachua County Forever (ACF) program completed the purchase of the conservation easement on the farm this past summer. The easement will allow the Wood family to continue farming, but it will also protect a magnificent view and the shoreline along Orange Lake. The easement allows one additional home, for Freddie’s son, to be built.

The process of protecting the farm started in 2004, when Freddie met with David and Peggy Carr to talk about ways that CTF could help save his farm.

Freddie agreed to submit a grant to the ACF program as a source of funds to purchase a permanent conservation easement. In conjunction with CTF, the ACF program submitted a grant to the USDA NRCS Farm and Ranchland Protection Program for 50% of the matching funds for the easement. The grant was awarded to the ACF program in 2005. The Wood farm preservation project was a great match for both programs – it protects important conservation land and habitat for sandhill cranes as well as helping to protect the water quality of Orange Lake – and it protects a working cattle ranch, which helps contribute to our local economy, and the land will stay on the tax roles and be managed by Freddie and future owners.

Evinston is a magical place – if you have ever driven around the area when the yellow coreopsis are in bloom all along the road side – you will fall in love with Old Florida.

The Evinston – Cross Creek – Micanopy area is also home to a large number of bald eagle nests, with the majority of the nearly 40 sites in Alachua County being concentrated in the “triangle of lakes” area of Orange, Lochloosa and Newnans Lake. Alachua County has the 10th highest count of bald eagles of any county in Florida.

CTF will resume working on the restoration of the Wood & Swink Old Store & Post Office, which is also owned by the Wood family, soon. We are raising funds to preserve the Wood & Swink with a historical facade easement and to protect the commercially zoned one-acre lot and the packing shed.

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