About SN’s Land Use Partnership Initiative

Photo by Dylan Wallace

It’s hard to imagine now, but according to this map on the Nantucket Historical Association’s web site, there were over 100 farms on Nantucket in the 1850’s. In 2007, when SN started our Farmers & Artisans Market, Nantucket had 3  farms (one of which was NCF’s Cranberry B0gs) and a handful of small scale growers operating commercially. Today, in 2011, there are  7  farms plus several small-scale growers that are commercially growing and harvesting food (produce, eggs, meat, honey, shellfish) for sale to Nantucket consumers.

It’s no surprise to anyone that the cost of land on the Island makes commercial farming prohibitive for most. Nantucket farmers are additionally burdened with higher operational costs than most off-island farmers – fuel, equipment, supplies and materials, not to mention labor and overhead, are generally more expensive on Nantucket. Yet as a community we understand the positive health, environmental and economic impact that supporting local agriculture can have. Sustainable Nantucket has begun to examine ways that it can help support and increase agricultural industry on the island, and give consumers greater access to the foods produced by local farmers.

Sustainable Nantucket has worked closely with Island growers to identify the role we can play in supporting and helping to grow the Island’s agricultural industry, and, in response, we have launched the Sustainable Nantucket Land Use Partnership Initiative.

This initiative is designed to increase agricultural acreage through partnerships with land-owning organizations and individuals, and to establish a skilled agricultural workforce on Nantucket through collaboration with experienced island growers. We aim to establish an educated and trained agricultural workforce while increasing the amount of land farmed on the island. Elements of this Initiative include:

  • Making more farm land available through  Land-Use Partnerships with the Nantucket Islands Land Bank and other land-owning entities
  • Expansion of our already-existing Agricultural Apprenticeship Initiative —where we pair apprentices interested in becoming farmers with experienced island growers.
  • Expanding agricultural production and “growing new growers & farmers” through education

Current Projects

  • Our  Grazing Project pairs an SN apprentice with local livestock farmers from FarAway Farms to graze the Pout Pond Rd. property owned by the Nantucket Islands Land Bank. Read more – CLICK HERE.

The Future

Laying the groundwork for potential use of additional Land Bank land as well as land owned by other organizations and private landowners is in process and we continue to explore expanding acreage through partnerships with other organizations and private land-owners – eventually creating a network of grazed and cultivated land all over the island.

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