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Wake County News > Posts > Family Donates Farm to Wake County
April 02
Family Donates Farm to Wake County
Land will be preserved as park, preserve or agricultural capacity

Thanks to the generosity of a local family, a 59-acre farm in the heart of Raleigh will be enjoyed by Wake County residents and visitors in the future and an important legacy will be preserved.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners, at its regular meeting on Monday, April 2, accepted the donation of the Kellam-Wyatt Farm from Susan Wyatt, her late husband, Robert (Bob) Kellam, and his daughter, Leewyn Kellam.

The farm, a lush property featuring woods, lakes and trails, has been in Bob Kellam’s family for generations. Wyatt and Kellam, who met while working for the Environmental Protection Agency, began farming the land after retirement. They specialized in produce and pastured laying hens, and they sold their goods primarily through the farmers’ market and a small community-supported agriculture program. Their work at the EPA gave them a special appreciation for sustainable farming methods.

“My late husband, Bob Kellam, who grew up working on the farm, was a strong advocate for environmental protection and organically grown local food since the 1970s,” Susan Wyatt said. “He, his daughter, Leewyn, and I have enjoyed the beauty of the woods and ponds; the great herons, ospreys and other water birds; the singing of the toads and frogs; and local fresh vegetables and fruits from the fields for many years.

“As Wake County’s population has sky-rocketed, and fields and forests have been replaced with roofs and pavement, our determination to preserve and share open space with future generations has been reinforced. Through our visits to all of the county parks, our volunteer work with the County Extension Service and our association with the county Soil and Water Conservation Department, we have observed that Wake County shares our values of open space, environmental protection and sustainable agriculture, and we feel confident that Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space will be an excellent steward for the future of the farm.”

The family originally donated a conservation easement on the farm to Raleigh’s City of Oaks Foundation in 2013. The foundation contacted the county on behalf of the family.

"We are appreciative of the county's acceptance of this generous land donation,” said Chris Heagarty, executive director of the City of Oaks Foundation. “We look forward to partnering with Wake County to preserve this hidden natural treasure and to share it with future generations as a special place celebrating our community's natural and agricultural heritage.”

Once the acquisition is final, county staff, along with Wyatt and the City of Oaks Foundation, will begin master planning for open space preservation or use as a park, nature preserve or agricultural capacity.

“This is a strong addition to the county’s park system in an urbanized area of the county,” said Chris Snow, director of Wake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space. “We are grateful that the Kellam-Wyatt family has entrusted the county with this land, and we look forward to all residents of the county benefiting from it in the future. We intend to honor the family’s vision in preserving this special space.”

As part of the agreement, the county will pay up to $40,000 in open space funding for due diligence costs.


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