In 2014, when a group of volunteers joined forces to found The Salmon School Garden Project (SSGP), their first order of business was to secure a lease on the property adjoining the Salmon Junior-Senior High School to provide a home for their project. This one acre parcel provided a convenient location and featured a number of fruit trees, but the committee was troubled by the lack of permanency with a year to year lease, so in 2016, they approached Lemhi Regional Land Trust (LRLT) for advice on securing a more permanent arrangement. Around this same time, Seth and Amy Tonsmeire had contacted LRLT to share that their parents and LRLT founding board members, Fran and Joe Tonsmeire, had left LRLT a financial gift following Fran’s passing in 2015. It was a true gift in the sense that they had placed no restrictions or expectations on how the money would be used and it also came at time LRLT was growing and stretching to make ends meet. But instead of using those funds to the important work of land conservation, the entire board and staff of LRLT committed to setting that gift aside to use for something special someday.
Then in early 2017, LRLT Executive Director, Kristin Troy, and Vice Chairman, Bob Russell, attended a training on community conservation and were both inspired with the same idea: using Fran and Joe’s gift to purchase the SSGP property. They both new the SSGP was struggling with their lack of permanency and that the kids of our community needed the opportunity to have land to cultivate and the special place to learn that had been created by the SSGP, so on June 9th, LRLT purchased the SSGP property. LRLT’s ownership of this property ensures that the SSGP will have a permanent home and that students will always have the opportunity to dig in the soil, grow their own food and stay connected to our rich agricultural heritage.