2006-10-26 / About Town

Sutton honored for farm work

By Dotti Farrington

The Town Council Monday adopted a proclamation to honor Robert W. Sutton Jr., who was named Rhode Island State Grange Agriculturist of the Year earlier this month.

Jamestown's Conanicut Grange 21 will celebrate Sutton's selection on the Grange's 117th anniversary Sunday, Oct. 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. at its hall on West Street. All residents are invited. The councilors designated Sunday as Robert W. Sutton Jr. Day.

The councilors proclaimed that Sutton "in 1975 became Jamestown's first town administrator, a position he held for over 17 years (to 1992) with great success before leaving to become chief of planning and development in the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; and (he) responded to a request by DEM to find land suitable for a community farm for the purpose of producing fresh vegetables for the needy, and was successful in securing permission to locate the farm at Eldred Avenue on land owned by Peter Ceppi."

Sutton "along with his wife Lynda, family, friends and neighbors established the Jamestown Community Farm in 2000," the proclamation continues, "enlisting the aid of volunteers from Jamestown and other communities, to make the farm a successful venture, and (he) worked with farm families, members of the Conanicut Island Land Trust and others to create an in-depth report entitled "Farm Viability Report, and believed that farmers should meet regularly to discuss farming issues and encouraged local farm families to join Conanicut Grange 21, a local organization founded 117 years ago on Oct. 29, 1889."

The proclamation recounts the grange process for selecting Sutton as agriculturist on the local grange's nomination and his official designation at the 120th annual state Grange meeting on Oct. 6.

The proclamation concludes with the councilors' resolution that Sutton Day was designated to recognize "his perseverance in promoting agriculture and preservation of farmlands, open space and wetlands; his realization that the protection of our farms is critical to the well-being of all people, now and in the future; (and) his leadership ability, which has brought together the people and organization that share his views and are working together to keep farms farming and our food supply always available."

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