Heritage Conservancy held its ninth annual Farm to Table on Saturday, August 5th, at the Conservancy’s Russell-Mandel Preserve in Buckingham Township. During a magical evening, over 225 guests helped to raise $60,000 toward the Conservancy’s mission of preserving and protecting our natural and historic heritage. That is the largest amount raised at any previous Farm to Table dinner.

The Russell-Mandel Preserve is a 55-acre property that contains agricultural fields, woodlands and a tributary leading to Pidcock Creek. Across the road from the agricultural fields is the remaining property, which contains an early-1800s farmhouse, a cottage, and a barn. In 1990, Robert L. Russell and William Mandel donated their property to Heritage Conservancy. Through this planned gift, the couple deeded their farm to the Conservancy and reserved life rights to enjoy the rest of their days on the property. Bob Russell was a valued member of the Board of Heritage Conservancy for over 18 years. During the same time period, Bill Mandel served on the Board of the Michener Museum. Their support of the non-profit community was deep and wide-reaching.

Linda Cacossa, COO of the Conservancy, narrated their story and their commitment to conservation with the Farm to Table crowd. “Bob Russell and Bill Mandel shared a passion for the arts, culture, music, and conservation. They fell under the spell of Bucks County the first time they visited—a familiar story. They spent the rest of their lives giving back to the community they loved, culminating with the gift of this property – with Heritage Conservancy’s promise to keep it preserved.”

Credit: Mike Maney

Attendees were encouraged to explore the property and celebrate the legacy gift that has been left for everyone in our community to enjoy. The juxtaposition of the the Russell-Mandel Preserve’s historic buildings and fields of farmland allowed Heritage Conservancy’s mission of natural and historic preservation to ring true for guests.

While taking in the beauty of the preserve, guests indulged in delicacies prepared by Jamie Hollander Catering and Events using ingredients provided by local farms. Hors d’oeuvres followed by a seated dinner were served in this picturesque outdoor setting.

Guests had the opportunity to participate in silent and live auctions for a variety of exciting items donated by local artisans and vendors. A mission appeal during the evening focused on raising funds to go toward planting pollinators meadows on several of Heritage Conservancy’s properties. Pollinators such as bees and butterflies are responsible for 40% of the world’s agriculture production, and these critical critters are on the decline. Heritage Conservancy’s pollinators meadows will provide important habitat to help pollinators thrive.

While addressing the group, Jeffrey Marshall, the Conservancy’s president, emphasized the greater significance of what community support means to the Conservancy’s mission. “Who would have thought that doing good could feel so good? Our special historic and natural places won’t stay special unless you work at it. The support of everyone here tonight allows Heritage Conservancy to keep the promise of protecting our natural and historic heritage. You make a difference so we can make a difference.”