Could Johnston Be In The Forefront Of Losing Farmland?

Feb 10, 2014

A property in Johnston is the latest target in the fight to save Rhode Island's farmland from development. It's an issue that pits the rights of property owners against concerns about preserving green space. In this case, the application to change the zoning ordinance on the farmland has come to a temporary halt, as the owner considers his options. He's in talks with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management about how to move forward. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza joined Elisabeth Harrison in the studio to share more details.

Chuck Currie's chickens on the DiMeo Farm, where his lease ends on March 1.
Credit Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Charles Currie began to lease the DiMeo Farm in 2012. His lease is up in March 1. Currie is moving his farming business to Raynham, MA.

Mayor Joseph Polisena said he would like the DiMeo Farm to stay a farm, but respects landowner Mike DiMeo’s rights to do as he wishes with his property, as long as he follows the right steps to change the zoning on his farm.

Elisabeth Bux purchased land next to the DiMeo Farm. She wants to eventually grow food for her family and start a small scale-farming endeavor. She considers her property a “gem,” because it is so close to the Providence city line, close to where she was living and working.