Remembering Joan Davidson, a Visionary Leader in the Agricultural Conservation Movement
Our thoughts are with her family and friends of Joan Davidson, who passed on August 11, 2023. Joan served on American Farmland Trust’s Board of Directors from 1991-1993, where her efforts had an enormous and lasting impact, and she continued to support and advise AFT for the next 30 years.
“AFT is deeply saddened by the loss of Joan Davidson,” said John Piotti, President and CEO of American Farmland Trust. “Joan was a trailblazer in farmland protection throughout the entire state of New York. Some of Joan’s lasting achievements include supporting AFT’s work on the passage of Agricultural Protection Act in 1992 and the establishment of New York State’s Farmland Protection Program in 1996, in addition to her direct role in the creation of the Environmental Protection Fund in 1993. She was a champion of historic preservation and conservation in New York, and we are eternally grateful for that. She will be sorely missed, and our deepest condolences go out to her loved ones.”
Joan and the J.M. Kaplan Fund were instrumental in jump-starting AFT’s work in New York state. During my time directing AFT’s work in New York in the 1990s, Joan was a crucial partner and ally. Joan fully understood the critical importance and leverage of policy changes and made sure that AFT was able to have a seat at the table as these important programs were established. While Joan had a major impact on historic preservation and conservation in the New York City region and the Hudson Valley, her reach extended to the entire state. “As a Board member, Joan was always engaged and direct in her role,” says Ralph Grossi, current AFT Board Chair and former President during Joan’s Board service. “As a philanthropist, she held her beneficiaries accountable – making AFT and others better organizations.”
Joan continued her connection to American Farmland Trust for decades as a member of the President’s Council (1993-2023) and remained a steadfast supporter of AFT. We mourn her passing but celebrate her service to the public good and her contributions to saving the land that sustains us.
Photo from J.M. Kaplan Fund website