Tracie Soper took a rose out of the bucket of flowers she had and put it in the bunch she was holding in her left hand.
Soper, a florist in Glen, was creating another bouquet inside The Glen Conservancy’s barn on Saturday, where several tables had been set up to showcase the many items people can purchase within the town.
Inside the conservancy, children could draw pumpkins using pastels, and people could purchase cookies from local bakers, flowers from Soper, and scenic artwork by area artists. Outside, people were treated to local music and could peruse crafts, baked goods and produce for sale by other vendors.
“This is to draw attention to what the town of Glen is all about,” said Michelle Egelston, a member of Glen Families Allied for Responsible Management of Land (Glen FARMLand), who helped organize Saturday’s Glen Fall Festival in about 20 days.
One of the biggest traits that makes up Glen is its agricultural land, Egleston said.
Glen FARMLand has been pushing to keep mega-solar projects off agricultural properties in the area. The goal of the organization’s festival was to demonstrate the importance of keeping those properties for agricultural purposes, Egelston said.
There is currently a 250-megawatt solar power generation facility proposed for construction in Glen. It was announced in 2020 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority as one of 21 large-scale solar projects selected statewide to meet New York’s goal of getting 70% of its power from renewable energy sources by the end of the decade.
The proposed solar panel farm would span approximately 2,000 acres of land, and would be capable of supplying power to approximately 65,000 homes. Informational boards were posted throughout the barn with project representatives nearby to answer residents’ questions and accept feedback on the plans.
Egleston said the project would ruin the beauty of Glen.
“We have all these hills looking down over the majestic valley,” she said.
Not only would that be ruined, but life in Glen, where many people depend on people working in agriculture, would be too, she said.
Soper, who operates Glen Cottage Farms on Route 161, believes that large-scale solar projects can interfere with food sustainability, she said.
She said with climate change causing many wildfires out West, the Northeast and farms in New York may be called on in the future to help meet a higher demand for food.
“It’s only a matter of time before we’re called upon to provide food where there might be deficits,” she said.
People outside of Glen also came to support Glen FARMLand, like Wilta Holloway from the town of Florida. She and three other artists, Lorrie Tesiero from the city of Amsterdam, Marilyn Van Allen from the city of Amsterdam and Connie Zevola from the town of Amsterdam, each brought artwork to sell and also enjoyed checking out some of the other vendors.
Holloway said the issue Glen is facing is all to familiar to her, as she too is a farmer who resides in a town with similar issues. She said the big problem is the developments are put on prime farming land, destroying it.
“You’re never going to get a crop there again,” she said. “We’ve got enough solar.”
She said you can’t miss the large solar arrays along Route 30.
“When you see all that solar, it’s disgusting,” she said.
However, not everyone in Glen is against large solar projects. Tanya Cioffi said she is on the fence about the issue. She said while it might be ugly to look at, it’s up to the property owners what they want to do with their land.
“We got enough people telling us what to do,” she said.