North Branch Land Trust hosts ‘Barn Banquet’

DALLAS TWP. – In the serene setting of Friedman Farms, the North Branch Land Trust’s NEPA Barn Banquet certainly served its purpose on Wednesday evening, giving attendees a few hours to appreciate conservation, as well as the region’s rich agricultural heritage.

ATNB’s Executive Director, Ellen Ferretti, took office just under a year ago on November 15, 2021. That said, she’s certainly no stranger to their mission.

“So I was with what used to be the Back Mountain Regional Land Trust in the early 90s after it was formed, and that probably sparked my interest in the land trust…” she said.

Ferretti kept in touch with what would become North Branch Land Trust, serving on the board and offering support. In doing so, life opened new doors and Ferretti left the area. Most recently, she served Chester and Delaware counties, running the Brandywine Conservancy.

“When this position opened up, I thought it was time to come home and work for North Branch Land Trust and see what we could do,” she explained. And so, the Kingston native returned to the area.

After throwing a few “barn banquets” working with Brandywine, Ferretti came home and said, “I need a barn. Mutual contact brought her to Rob Friedman and Friedman Hospitality Group, who generously, as Ferretti put it, “gave us a break in that barn.” And so, the first such North Branch Land Trust event came to fruition.

Elva Valentine of Harveys Lake, a longtime North Branch Land Trust supporter, shared her thoughts on the evening.

“I think it’s a big mission, to preserve the land so we can enjoy things like this,” she said. Valetine’s business, Valentine’s Jewelry, has been actively supporting other businesses, charities, and similar causes, in the name of building a strong community, for years now. “That’s the way it’s supposed to work,” she said.

And with Friedman Hospitality Group on board, a local menu curated especially for the event and its cause by Bank & Vine, and board members and supporters from various other NEPA organizations, it’s safe to say that this community who supports each other only wins stronger.

Ferretti offered some opening remarks to the crowd, presented by its director of marketing and development, Karley Stasko. Ferretti thanked Friedman and asked his board members to stand up and be recognized.

Explaining how all these moving parts are united, she said: ‘The link with North Branch was since its inception in the early 90’s, North branch Land Trust has focused on the conservation of our key agricultural soils, from agriculture local community and when you put a conservation easement on land, it does. The undeveloped part of it in perpetuity. So even if someone is not cultivating, they can potentially cultivate in the future. Right? It is therefore to highlight our agricultural roots, our nod to the importance of local agriculture…”

For those who would like to get involved or learn more about North Branch Land Trust, simply visit There is also a link on the webpage to donate to their cause.

“Find out what we’re doing,” Ferretti said, “help us a little bit in our reserves, start to really know and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us and how the conservation of that beauty really does our whole life, it really is supports us and makes our lives better.

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