Farms for the Future: Moving Forward in a Time of Uncertainty

April 23, 2020

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo

Farms for the Future

Long Island farmers are moving full steam ahead into the growing season. Providing food and agricultural products is an essential part of our lives, and our farmers are out in the fields every day tending the soil, prepping the fields, planting seeds and seedlings to help us put food on the table for our families.

Are you looking for access to early spring vegetables and flowers? Our thanks to the Long Island Farm Bureau for creating an online resource list of farmers offering products during the spring and into the season. Know about a farm and its product availability that’s not listed? Contact Lauren McGrath at the Long Island Farm Bureau: or let us know and we’ll pass on the info.

In the Fields

The Trust staff is working in the fields to get farmers and community gardeners on the land this spring.

We are offering community gardens at both Bridge Gardens (Bridgehampton) and at the Ag Center at Charnews Farm (Southold) for families interested in growing their own food. The garden plots at Bridge Gardens are full, but we do have room for individuals and families to grow their own at the Ag Center – interested? Contact Robin Harris at 631.283.3195

The Quail Hill Farm crew in Amagansett is in the fields sowing and planting for the upcoming CSA season – which will start in late May. There are a variety of CSA offerings to choose from – and we still have a few summer shares available. Interested in joining us? You can reach out to Robin – or check in with the farm’s new Director, Layton Guenther. This is Layton’s first year at the helm at the farm, and I know they would love to hear from you:

The Trust staff is also working with 28 different farm operations to get on the land – on over 200 acres of farmland. This includes both long-established farms looking for additional land to grow to new start-up farms that are just “getting off the ground.” Director of Agricultural Program’s Dan Heston is working with Stewardship Manager Jessie Marcus and Land Steward Brendan Minogue to get the farmers settled in for the season. Have questions about our Farms for the Future program? Contact Dan.

Land Protection Efforts Continue

In addition to getting the farms up and running this season, the Trust is continuing to work with our partners to protect additional agricultural lands in Suffolk County. There are about 35,000 acres of farmland still remaining in the County, but only about 19,000 acres are protected. Through the Town’s Community Preservation Fund, the County’s Farmland Preservation Program, the State’s Farmland Preservation Programs funded under the Environmental Protection Fund (and possibly the proposed Restore Mother Nature Bond Act in the future), and private conservation funding, the Trust is working on a number of new farmland preservation initiatives.

As this crisis has pointed out, access to locally grown food and agricultural products is a necessity. Ensuring that our agricultural resources are available into the future is a pressing need and one our Conservation Planning staff is stridently working toward. We hope to announce additional farmland preservation closings in the coming months.

To date, the Trust has been involved in the protection of over 6,000 acres of farmland on Long Island. To learn more about these protection efforts, visit our online (interactive) map.

Thank you for working with us to ensure a future with locally grown food!

Who’s Farming with the Trust in 2020:

At the Ag Center (Southold)

Ag Center/Charnews Incubator Fields (Southold)

Deborah Light Preserve (Amagansett)

Edwards Farm (Orient)

Hayground Farm (Bridgehampton)

North Fork Stewardship Center (Cutchogue)

Raynor Dibble (Eastport)

  • Sag Harbor Honey: honey

Schleicher Preserve (Bridgehampton)

Shellfisher Preserve (Southold)

Town Lane Preserve (Amagansett)

Wellde/Sugar Mountain Preserve (Sagaponack)

… and at the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood we are helping the Sisters with their leases for eight separate farm operations that will be growing food and native plants on the campus’ 27 acres of prime agricultural soil!

We wish everyone a successful growing season! Thank you to all our farmers for the food, flowers, plants, trees, shrubs and more that you provide us and our families!

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