Farmers discuss vandalism in Rocky Hill - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Farmers discuss vandalism in Rocky Hill

Posted: Updated:
Farmers in Rocky Hill are pleading with the town to limit access to the dirt road leading up to the Meadows. (WFSB) Farmers in Rocky Hill are pleading with the town to limit access to the dirt road leading up to the Meadows. (WFSB)

Farmers in Rocky Hill are pleading with the town to limit access to the dirt road leading up to the Meadows after they say their crops have been destroyed and their equipment has been vandalized. 

The gate to the Meadows has been closed for about one month because of recent flooding. Now, some of these farmers are fighting for it to remain closed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Some farmers told Eyewitness News the parcels of land have been owned and used by farmers for generations. It’s how they grow their crops.

The farmers add that people have trespassed onto their property and have run over their fields, broken their machinery, as well as stolen some of their goods. 

They're hoping by limiting access to the Meadows, there won't be as much vandalism to the grounds. 

"I've had pumpkins stolen on me, I've had pumpkins run over, I've had my corn run over,” Lisa Gilbert, who is the owner of the Gilbert Farm, Rocky Hill, said.  "When someone comes in and destroys these crops, that's our profits that's our loss. How do you sustain that?"

Gilbert Farm has been in Lisa Gilbert's family since the mid-1800's.

Gilbert grows about 60 percent of her crops on a parcel of land, which has been passed down from generation to generation within the Rocky Hill Meadows.

The interim town manager said the gate, which is now blocking access to the public, unpaved road that snakes through the meadows has been closed and locked, due to recent flooding.

The property owners and farmers have even installed barriers around their parcels of land, but they say that's not enough to keep people out.

"We could be down here working and somebody could be vandalizing four, five fields over. And you're on a tractor going 10 mph, there's no way you're going to catch them,” said Michelle Collins, of Fair Weather Acres.

She says she and her husband have to closely monitor their crops to ensure its produced, packed and handled properly.

Michelle adds when people allow their pets to run around on her land it compromises food safety.

They are now hoping to come up with some sort of compromise.

“What we're trying to do is propose to the town to change the ordinance to not allow motorized vehicles down here,” she said.

But, there's been pushback on this proposal.

Some residents said the meadows should be enjoyed by all, and that it's a place for them to walk, ride their bikes, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

They say it would be a shame to limit their access to the area.

"For anyone that likes locally produced food, we would really appreciate the support to be able to operate our farms in this area,” Gilbert said.

Farmers met with the interim town manager on Monday morning to discuss the ongoing problem. There will also be a public meeting with the safety committee in Rocky Hill Town Hall chambers at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.