Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Farms being targeted as bad things in Chester County? But is it crazy? No —- this is not about Wildflower Farm which is under siege in Willistown Township by NOFIMBY “neighbors” on Castlebar Lane. This post is about Kolb’s in East Coventry. This farm seems to be under siege by their municipality, so it makes you wonder what the municipality really wants, doesn’t it?
NOFIMBY = No Farms In My Back Yard.
So I saw this GoFundMe posted about helping Kolb’s and it stopped me dead in my tracks:
📌📌‼️Allow Kolb’s Farm Store to Continue Hosting Ag-Supported Events at the Farm!
Since November of 1975, Kolb’s Farm Store has been a fixture in the East Coventry and greater Chester County area providing farm fresh milk and other essentials to the community. In July 2021, the Farm & Store was sold to Bob & Casi Long (along with their 18 month old son). When Bob & Casi, a young couple in their mid 20s, took over the farm it was clear that they needed to increase revenue to support the rapidly rising cost of feed for their cattle as well as the overhead costs to run the farm & store. Casi came up with creative, Ag-Supported, events to be held at the farm. The gatherings would bring together local vendors, other small businesses from our area, community members and the farm. People would learn more about the farm, pet the cows in the barn and enjoy good food. While these things are all absolutely wonderful and supportive for the surrounding community, these Ag-Supported events expanded the Long’s market reach and drove traffic (thus sales) into the Farm Store. Last week, Casi was served papers from East Coventry Township, including screenshots from Facebook posts, detailing her Ag-Supported events on the farm. After a meeting with the township, it was determined that the Long Family would need extensive legal counsel as well as several thousand dollars to apply for the zoning variances and fees associated with this.
This is where you come in. Supporting the Long Family through a donation to their GoFundMe not only supports keeping a local dairy farm in East Coventry Township, it means open space remains open. It means your food sources remain local. It means supporting the backbone of America: Small Business & Farmers. We will continue to update on this page as things progress with East Coventry Township. Please also follow the Facebook page (Kolb’s Farm Store) for meeting dates with East Coventry Township officials. The time to show support is now.
Thank you, Long Family, for continuing to fight the good fight to grow your farm and continue to feed the greater Chester County area.📌📌‼️
So this again is a farm which transitioned to younger owners who kept the name and now a Chester County municipality seems like they want to shut it down? So Kolb’s has been part of the fabric around there for decades, right? I know nothing much about this municipality but don’t they have a supervisor named Ray Kolb? Relative of original owners or just same name?
But anyway. Check out this article from Lancaster Farming:
Kolb’s Farm Store Transitions to Young Farm Couple
Eric Hurlock, email@example.com Jan 6, 2022 Updated Jan 6, 2022
📌📌SPRING CITY, Pa. — The Kolb family had been farming in East Coventry Township, Chester County, for generations. Roy and Alice Kolb moved into the farmhouse on Kolb Road around 1960. They began milking cows and raising a family. In 1975, they opened up a small milk store at their farm to help bring in more revenue to support their seven kids.
Paul Kolb, who does the milk processing now, remembers his dad Roy asking him and his twin brother what they wanted to do after high school. Did they want to stay on the farm?
“Because if we wanted to stay on the farm, he had to try and come up with some other income to support us. So that’s what happened. And that’s how the store got opened,” Paul Kolb said…..The farm and store were run by various members of the family over the years, most recently by Leroy and Sally Kolb. Sally ran the store and Leroy ran the farm, but in March of 2020, Leroy died unexpectedly.
The family had been trying to figure out how to transition the operation to the next generation. But the next generation of Kolbs weren’t that interested in taking it over.
The family knew it was time to sell the farm….A farm this size in northern Chester County would fetch a hefty chunk of change, if split up and developed, but the Kolbs had different priorities.
“Obviously, developing (the land) was an option, but we decided that we would rather sell it as a working farm,” said Paul. “That was our first priority. We knew the neighbors would appreciate it tremendously. And so that was the reason that we sold it as a farm.”
But finding the right people was sort of a long shot.
“And fortunately, we were able to find somebody who was interested in keeping farming,” Kolb said….Bobby and Casi Long were married in 2019. They met as teenagers at the 2014 Kimberton Fair in Phoenixville where they were both showing cows.
As the couple planned their future together, they knew they wanted to farm….The couple financed the sale through Mid Penn Bank.
“The Kolbs and the bank and us — we all got to have a conversation and all of our goals aligned. And so that’s kind of how that whole partnership kind of blossomed,” Casi said.
By June of 2021, the Longs were working with the Kolbs to transition ownership. There was a lot to learn and having members of the Kolb family on hand to show them the ropes was an absolute blessing.
On July 1, 2021, Kolb’s Farm Store officially opened under the ownership of Casi and Bobby Long.📌📌
So why does this township want to shut these people down? Does this seem as crazy to you as it does to me? Here is how you contact East Coventry: firstname.lastname@example.org – : 610-495-5443 – 855 Ellis Woods Rd., Pottstown, PA 19465.
We need to SAVE our farms. I hope people make it rain e-mails, post cards, letters, phone calls. #HANDSOFFKOLBS #NoFarmsNoFood
On my blog’s Facebook page are posts I have shared with links to small businesses supporting Kolb’s and the Long family. There is also the Go Fund Me: https://gofund.me/833d8a8a
And if I actually knew the Long family and hadn’t just had the awesome milk from Kolb’s I would tell them or any concerned resident to submit a Right To Know Request to East Coventry Township to ask them if there are complaints in any form (oral, written, email, text message, electronic, etc) going back to 2020 against the farm, against them personally, the Kolb family from whom they purchased the property. And that would only be the first one.
And today I realized the irony in Chester County putting out the call for people to help with the semiquincentennial of the United States of America (America250PA) as it will be celebrated in Chester County. Oh the goddamn irony because how many farms will be under siege by July 4, 2026? And Chester County was founded in a big part on the backs of farmers, so WTF Chester County? How about helping actually protect, promote, and preserve farms in Chester County? Like Kolb’s. Like WildFlower Farm. And others like Happy Days Farm that was bought by Vanguard and sold, but at some point will it still be developed?
Ten million plastic townhouse developments, trails to nowhere, nasty NOFIMBY neighbors, a development happy county planner, and duplicitous municipalities aren’t the tradition of Chester County, nor should they be her future. Farms are the lifeblood and heart of this county and we need to preserve them in perpetuity.
Farming is a brutally hard business. Municipalities and neighbors of farms should be lifting up their farms, not slamming them down. Please Chester County residents, and Chester County Commissioners stand up and SUPPORT our farms and farmers. And that also means helping our farmers promote and grow their business to ensure farm sustainability. That means allowing events and farm tours and ways to educate people about farms, farming, It means encouraging people to be Localvores. It means municipalities in PA respecting the ACRE Law too.
Shame on you East Coventry. You suck, actually. Farms matter. Farmers are real people, our friends and neighbors. Shame on you East Coventry.