Become a Founding Farmer

Join us in building a 2-acre educational Community Farm on-island — the Sustainable Nantucket Community Farm Institute (CFI).

What is a Community Farm Institute?

A Community Farm Institute is an educational, cooperative, working farm that provides training, technical assistance, space and infrastructure to aspiring and beginning farmers who learn by doing: working alongside each other under the guidance of experienced mentors.

The Sustainable Nantucket Community Farm Institute will:

  • provide an “incubator farm” to increase the amount of small pocket farms on the island
  • increase the availability of fresh, local food and specialty crops on the island
  • educate new growers and the public regarding organic and sustainable growing practices
  • raise awareness of the continued importance of agriculture to the island

Why does Nantucket need an educational community farm?

The cost of land on the Island makes commercial farming prohibitive for most, particularly for anyone looking to start a farm from scratch. Nantucket farmers are additionally burdened with higher operational costs than most off-island farmers. Labor, fuel, equipment, supplies and materials are all more expensive on Nantucket, and access to off-island workshops and education is limited.

The SN Community Farm Institute will help to change that. This will be a place to “incubate” new growers – providing beginning farmers on Nantucket with a cleared, fenced and accessible site on which to begin growing food; access to education: workshops, classes and mentor relationships; and a cooperative, shared infrastructure: greenhouse, shed and tools; which, along with partnerships with fellow young farmers, will help them in their efforts. Young farmers will pay a reasonable annual “lease” fee while they learn new technical skills, build their customer base, and refine their business models. Beginning farmers are already participating in our preparatory educational program and taking classes in accounting for farmers, crop planning and writing a business plan, as well as hands-on learning sessions in greenhouses at existing farms on the island. Educators and mentors include Sam Slosek of Moors End Farm, Andrew Spollett of Bartlett’s Farm and Dylan Wallace of Far Away Farm.

The public will be able to access the produce grown on the Community Farm at the SN Farmers & Artisans Market and through direct CSA relationships with the farmers.

These farmers will eventually “graduate” to larger parcels of leased land – awarded on a case-by-case basis — Land Bank, town-owned property, and privately-owned Land Use Partnerships.

Every new farmer we “grow” through the SN Community Farm Institute, whose skills and experience allows them to expand the number of acres they cultivate through land use partnership, is a substantial gain for the island in terms of local food produced over time.

With your support, we are excited to take the next step in providing our community with greater access to healthy, local food, strengthening our local economy and modeling a sustainable approach to farming that supports the overall health of our interdependent soil and water ecosystems.

How Do I Become a Founding Farmer?

We have a number of giving opportunities available to support the new Community Farm Institute. All donations are tax-deductible and can be made by writing a check made out to “Sustainable Nantucket” with memo “Community Farm” and mailing it to Sustainable Nantucket, PO Box 1244, Nantucket, MA 02554. For more information about the project or how to get involved, please call the SN Office at 508-228-3399 or email communityfarm@sustainablenantucket.org.

“Beginning Farm” Founding Farmer – $5,000 – sponsors 1/8 acre plot for beginning farm and funds ongoing program costs. Sponsor benefits include naming of farm plot, acknowledgement on website, certificate “deed’ to 1/8 acre of farm, updates and communication, framed artists’ rendering of farm, invitation to private Nantucket Grown cocktail party– summer 2015, all material benefits.

Adopt–A-Farmer – $3,000 – covers the cost of one year of the training program for one beginning farmer. Sponsor benefits include acknowledgement signage on farm giving wall, acknowledgement on website, regular updates, and –if desired—ongoing communication with sponsored farmer, framed artists’ rendering of farm, invitation to private Nantucket Grown cocktail party– summer 2015, all material benefits.

Fence Post Sponsor – $2,500 – funds ongoing program costs. Sponsor benefits include signage on fence post, acknowledgement on website, updates and communication, invitation to private Nantucket Grown cocktail party– summer 2015, all material benefits.

Adopt-an-Apprentice – $1,500 – covers the cost of hiring, training and overseeing an apprenticeship for one season.

10-Square Foot Founding Farmer – $1000 – funds ongoing program costs. Sponsor benefits include Nantucket Founding Farmer sticker, tee shirt, and NG Kleen Kanteen, certificate “deed” to 10 square feet of farm, acknowledgement on website, updates and communication.

5-Square Foot Founding Farmer – $500 – funds ongoing program costs. Sponsor benefits include Nantucket Founding Farmer sticker and tee shirt, certificate “deed” to 5 square feet of farm, acknowledgement on website, updates and communication.

Square Foot Founding Farmer- $100 – funds ongoing program costs. Sponsor benefits include Nantucket Founding Farmer sticker, certificate “deed” to 1 square foot of farm, acknowledgement on website, updates and communication.