Once of our longest standing partnerships is with the East End’s Peconic Land Trust. This conservation force with whom we have worked for more than twenty-two years through The Moore Charitable Foundation’s affiliate Robins Island has preserved more working farms on New York’s Long Island than any other private conservation organization.
In 2008 the Trust introduced a formalized program – the Farms for the Future Initiative, through which it seeks to refine conservation tools that address farmland accessibility, affordability, and sustainability, looks to buy, protect, rebuild and resell farms to farmers, and expand a Farmland Leasing Program.
What does this program look at work? A great example is Pike Farms. In 2010 the Trust acquired 7 acres of productive farmland from the Hopping family on Sagg Main Road in Sagaponack, with the express intent of reselling the land to Jim and Jennifer Pike, who had cultivated the land and ran their successful farmstand business. The Trust acquired the property, sold the development rights to the Town of Southampton and Suffolk County. The land, with a protected value of $223,600/acre was beyond the reach of the Pike’s; the Trust further restricted the land with an overlay easement, reducing the price per acre to $22,000.
The transfer of the property to the Pikes fulfilled the original intent of the acquisition – to identify new techniques that enable productive farmland to be affordable and accessible to farmers over time and to ensure the survival of a thriving agricultural operation in the midst of a village considered to have the highest land values in the United States.