Conservation and land stewardship is the heartbeat of Ashbourne Farms. It began with Sally Shallenberger Brown, a naturalist and conservationist ahead of her time, who loved nature just as her ancestors did. She deeply understood the needs of the environment and importance of conservation long before it was a national discussion. Because of that, the foundation of Ashbourne Farms is based on these deeply ingrained principles. In fact, her early contributions helped bring the topic to light in Kentucky and abroad. She was a founding member of the Kentucky Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and an active member of the Audubon Society, and dedicated her time, knowledge, and fundraising capabilities to many early initiatives.
More importantly, she impressed her love of nature on her children and grandchildren, encouraging them at an early age to partake in the wonder of the outdoors through hiking, fishing, ecological studies, and the identification of all types of plants and animals. Her influence planted the seed for a legacy of conservation on Ashbourne Farms. Sally pioneered a movement in her region, being one of the first in Kentucky to place a conservation easement on 850 acres of Ashbourne Farms, protecting the land, its habitat, and wildlife in perpetuity.
Today, the owners continue the legacy set forth by Ashbourne’s beloved matriarch. Additional land has been acquired to buffer and protect the farm and the Harrods Creek Watershed. Additionally, over 100,000 trees have been planted on the property and two hundred acres of native prairie grasses flourish on land that was once overgrazed, providing a place for migratory birds and monarch butterflies to return to every year, and a restored habitat that animals rely upon.
At Ashbourne Farms, conservation is a multi-faceted approach for good stewardship. It is about the intersection of agriculture with efforts to restore and enhance water, soil, and ecological diversity. These efforts have reached across generations touch all aspects of this land and are reflected in numerous partnerships with organizations like NRCS, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, the American Farmland Trust, the Bluegrass Land Conservancy, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, the Nature Conservancy and more.
Much is given to the land in hopes that it will flourish in health and abundance, for Ashbourne’s ancestors, and the generations to come.