singing to garlic: MAINE’S FARMER MUSICIANS BY CARRIE BRAMAN PHOTOGRAPHS BY MOLLY HALEY
Brett Sykes, GIS Specialist and Stewardship Associate
Brett Sykes grew up in the Hudson Valley/Catskill region of New York, surrounded by farmland and mountains, a landscape very similar to Maine. He currently lives in Belfast and enjoys exploring all the fishing, hiking and tasty food and drink that Maine has to offer. He loves natural history, reading, and is an avid music fan (both listening and playing). Brett started working with MFT last September, and creates the maps for land protection projects, uses GIS data to help identify potential protection projects or areas of geographical interest. He also helps with stewardship of MFT’s fee-owned properties, by managing the maintenance and repair work to make or keep them in prime selling condition. Lastly, Brett also helps to upkeep the Forever Farms website and manages incoming applications from land trusts and farmers who would like to designate their protected properties as Forever Farms.
Q: What drew you to work for MFT?
A: I worked on small farms for a few years in New York, and then started working at an organization doing farmland conservation work in the Hudson Valley region. I was looking to move somewhere with more affordable land prices and had always been intrigued by Maine. I saw the position at MFT and it seemed like a perfect fit for my skills and interests.
Q: What are some goals and/or projects you’re excited about?
A: I get excited every time we are able to protect an important piece of farmland, but especially when we are able to do so in a manner that simultaneously protects farmland while helping farmers lacking access to land start or grow their business.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you look forward to working on?
A: I look forward to continuing MFT’s mission and helping to identify, protect and steward Maine’s most important agricultural land. Although there is constant development pressure, I think we are still ahead of the curve and have a great opportunity to shape our landscape in a way that is beneficial to the future viability of Maine agriculture and economy.