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July 18, 2019  |  

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Sunflowers in bloom at Augur’s Field in 2017. 

File Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound

Sunflowers in bloom at Augur’s Field in 2017. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound | Buy This Photo)

North Branford Sunflower Project Hits Milestone of 140,000 Free Seeds Distributed

Distributed to Residents to Promote Native Pollinators and Local Agri-Economy

Published June 20, 2019

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June 17, 2019: The Sunflower Project – a new program driven by the North Branford Economic Development Commission and a growing coalition of volunteers – is marking National Pollinator Week today with a major milestone after successfully distributing 140,000 free sunflower seeds (and counting) to local residents and businesses.

As part of "Destination North Branford," The Sunflower Project is a one-of-a-kind initiative in Connecticut to build on the town's growing agricultural economy, reinforce the town as a sunflower-lover's destination and promote the proliferation of native pollinators throughout the area's farms and gardens.

The Sunflower Project will be celebrating National Pollinator Week beginning today – from June 17-23 – by promoting the continued distribution of its pollinator-friendly sunflower seeds free of charge at sites throughout the town, and with tips from the national Pollinator Partnership on how everyone can protect and restore the declining pollinator population that our ecosystem depends on, including honeybees, birds, butterflies and bats.

"North Branford is the Sunflower Capitol of Connecticut, and we want to make sure that our home is not only a great place to for families and businesses – but for our native pollinators that our farming community and entire ecosystem depend on," said Elisabeth Caplan, chairwoman of the North Branford Economic Development Commission.

Roger Salway, North Branford's Economic Development Coordinator, said the town is grateful for the support it has received for The Sunflower project, particularly from Augur Farm (which grows the largest sunflower field in town), as well as from Van Wilgen's Garden Center of North Branford and Chas C. Hart Seed Company in Wethersfield, which generously donated 500,000 sunflower seeds for distribution.

"North Branford's roots as a farming community are stronger than ever, and that's clear through the overwhelming support for The Sunflower Project by the business community, volunteers, farmers and people all across the region," Salway said. "More than 140,000 seeds have already been distributed, free of charge, to residents and businesses – and more are distributed each day. In the coming weeks, our town is going to be a major destination for our pollinators, not to mention for people from the region who will not be able to resist this town with sunflowers in full bloom and plenty of locally grown goods to choose from."

The Sunflower Project will recognize National Pollinator Week to raise awareness about the importance of protecting pollinators, which embodies one of the many goals of The Sunflower Project. National Pollinator Week was established approximately 12 years ago by the U.S. Senate, and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership to address the "urgent issue of declining pollinator populations." The Sunflower Project will help raise awareness through its online platforms on the web and through social media to help spread the word about what every citizen can do to help.

To learn more about The Sunflower Project (including where to get free seeds) and North Branford's agricultural destinations, visit destinationnorthbranford.com, find Destination North Branford: The Sunflower Project on Facebook or @NorthBranfordSunflowerProject on Instagram.

North Branford has become synonymous with sunflowers in recent years as thousands of people have come to visit the expansive sunflower fields in town, particularly at Augur Farm and Cecarelli Farm, and the area's growing agricultural attractions.

For further questions or to join the Sunflower Project Committee, please call Economic Development Coordinator Roger Salway at 203-484-1034 or email him at edc@townofnorthbranfordct.com.

 

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