The 90-acre property was donated by Ruby Brooks, who died last year after living on the farm for 60 years
By Gillian Graham, Staff Writer
Portland Press Herald news story
A 90-acre farm in Berwick has been donated to the Great Works Land Trust for permanent conservation by a woman who lived and worked on the property for more than 60 years.
Ruby Brooks, who died in February 2013, gave the farm to the regional land trust, which has protected more than 5,300 acres in Berwick, North Berwick, South Berwick, Eliot, Ogunquit and Wells. The property transfer was completed last week.
Brooks lived on the farm for 60 years, maintaining a small dairy herd that she milked by hand. She was known for selling her milk locally. During her time on the farm, Brooks expanded the property by adding neighboring parcels. Anne Gamble, development coordinator for the land trust, said in a press release that the farm provided “a haven for (Brooks’) children and grandchildren to enjoy picking blueberries, walking shaded woods and fishing for trout.”
“We are extremely grateful to Ruby, her daughters Brenda Mee, Gloria Laderbush, and Audrey Vaillancourt, and other family members for entrusting Great Works as stewards of the land their mother loved,” said Tin Smith, president of the land trust’s board. “It is our honor to respect the family’s wishes, and we look forward to ensuring that Brooks Farm remains a rich agricultural and recreational resource.”
Jean Demetracopoulos, a former member of the Great Works Land Trust Board of Directors, helped facilitate the land transfer and knew Brooks for about a decade.
“Simply put, there are properties which hold a higher value to a community. These open spaces may protect water quality and provide wildlife habitat or recreational opportunities. Any of these make all our lives better,” Demetracopoulos said in prepared statement. “In the case of Brooks Farm, it fed the Brooks family and provided an important source of local milk and eggs to the community. In doing so, the farm became part of the agricultural infrastructure of our region, and provided a sanctuary for wildlife in an increasingly suburbanized area.”