Founded in 1983, the Peconic Land Trust conserves Long Island’s working farms, natural lands, and heritage for our communities now and in the future. As such, farmland protection is an important part of the Trust’s mission. Since its inception, over half of the 11,000 acres that the Trust has protected with its many partners has been farmland.
The Trust’s Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm, located on Youngs Avenue just north of Southold hamlet, is the North Fork hub of our Farms for the Future Initiative. Farming, gardening and educational programs are taking place on almost 100 acres of farmland, woods and meadows. Most of the acreage is leased to farmers, a diverse mix of operations from vegetables to livestock. The Ag Center also welcomes community gardeners who choose from over 40 plots of varying sizes to grow their own food as well as 4th and 5th graders from Southold Elementary School who learn about agriculture on the East End in our Learning Garden.
In 2009, the Trust began leasing land at the Ag Center, with Sang Lee Farms, Browder’s Birds and Invincible Summer Farms among the first farm operations:
For Sang Lee Farms, operating in Peconic since the late 1980s, the center has provided the opportunity to lease additional acreage. For Invincible Summer Farms, which has continuously leased at the Ag Center since 2010, it is providing land to expand. For Browder’s Birds, which leased at the Ag Center from 2010 through 2013, it provided a launching pad for its operations which have since moved to farmland it purchased from the Trust in Mattituck in 2014.
In 2015, farmers at the Agricultural Center will include Sang Lee Farms and Invincible Summer Farms plus a new mix of early stage farmers including Akio Soji, KLM Mushrooms, From Scratch Farm, The Growing Seed, and WildFeast Foods.
Giving farmers the opportunity to own farmland is a key element of the Farms for the Future Initiative. While the Ag Center provides leasing opportunities for farmers of all types (on the South Fork, we lease farmland in Bridgehampton and in the North Amagansett area near our Quail Hill Farm), the Trust also has purchased threatened farmland with the intent of selling the land to a farmer at its true agricultural value. After all, the next generation of farmers needs land to farm.
In addition to working with landowners, communities, municipalities, and partner organizations to conserve what we know and love on the North Fork, the Trust offers educational and recreational programs across the East End almost all year round . . . with visits to farms, hikes, paddling excursions, art exhibitions featuring conserved landscapes, and so much more. We look forward to seeing you!
Visit our website www.peconiclandtrust.org or call 631.283.3195 to learn more about the work of the Trust.
Help us spread the word – The Peconic Land Trust depends primarily upon private donations from people like you to support its conservation work. Contrary to a common misconception, the trust does not collect or distribute the monies raised through the Peconic Bay Region Community Preservation Fund (“CPF”), a 2% real estate transfer tax collected at most real estate closings. The proceeds of the CPF are used by each of the five East End Towns for the protection of farmland, open space, and community character.