New Milford Barn Quilt Trail Committee and Sustainable CT have announced full funding to expand Connecticut's first and only barn quilt trail from eight to 19 new sites.

The recently formed, all-volunteer New Milford Barn Quilt Trail Committee has successfully raised $17,030 from a crowdfunding campaign supported by 53 individual and group donations.

Residents, businesses, and other organizations throughout the community supported the effort.

The purpose of the Barn Quilt Trail, which was created between 2015 and 2017 by the town's administration and a group of volunteers, is to showcase to residents and visitors New Milford's rich agricultural heritage.

It also aims to raise the profile of the town's surviving working family farms, some of which offer seasonal farm stands.

Almost all the antique barns selected for the trail come from a time when over 200-plus New Milford farms were, first, a well-known source of delicate tobacco leaves for cigar wrappers and then continuing into the 20th century as suppliers of fresh milk, transported into urban areas.

Some of the barns on the trail have survived by being repurposed.

“Over the past decade, New Milford has become much more aware of the value of its natural and historical assets and the importance of showcasing them to attract visitors to create an economic ripple effect and contribute to our quality of life,” said Bill Devlin, a board member of the Trust for Historic Preservation and a member of the New Milford Barn Quilt Committee.

Devlin discovered almost 30 surviving antique and vintage barns throughout the town.

Of these, 10 were selected for the expansion of the trail, using criteria such as accessibility, architecture, history, and easy visibility from public roads.

The existing New Milford Barn Quilt Trail has been admired by residents over the past two years, including two families that have already painted and hung barn quilt blocks that will become part of the expanded trail.

Several other families have expressed the desire to be included in the trail expansion plans and provided support for the project.

The Barn Quilt Trail Committee has been working with graphic designers, some of whom are providing their support pro bono, to create designs for the quilt blocks.

The nine new blocks will be painted by a local arts organization and resident volunteers, after which the Town's Facilities Department has volunteered to install the quilt blocks on the chosen sites.

The expanded barn quilt trail is expected to be completed by late summer of 2020.

Funding

Sustainable CT, an initiative run by the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University, supported the project by matching each dollar donated by the community, doubling the funds available.

Sustainable CT is funded by the Hampshire Foundation, Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and Connecticut Green Bank.

The Sustainable CT Community Match Fund is an innovative funding resource that provides a dollar-for-dollar match to all donations raised from the community, doubling local investment.

The program is helping to bring projects across the state to life by providing fast, accessible funding as well as fundraising coaching and support to residents and organizations with great ideas to make their communities more sustainable.

Anyone in a Sustainable CT-registered municipality (more than 50 percent of the state) is eligible to receive this funding, meaning that schools, nonprofits, community groups and individual residents can all propose projects and access the matching funds.

To start a Community Match Fund project, visit www.ioby.org/sustainablect or contact Sustainable CT's Abe Hilding-Salorio at hildingsalorioa@easternct.edu or 860-465-0256.