The Peconic Land Trust recently announced the sale of the Amagansett Farmers Market and farmland by Maggie de Cuevas to Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett. Prior to the sale, Ms. de Cuevas donated Affirmative and Affordable Farming Covenants and Resale Restrictions to the Peconic Land Trust on 6.15 acres of the farmland which includes a provision that 80 percent of the farmland be restricted to growing solely food. Amagansett Farmers Market and farmland is a total of 9.33 acres.
“Security through land ownership is critical to the long-term sustainability of any farming enterprise. We are ecstatic to reach this milestone and are honored to become a permanent a part of the fabric of the Amagansett community,” said Amanda Merrow of Amber Waves Farm. “We are grateful for years of immeasurable support from our farm’s Board of Directors, members, donors, and neighbors, as well as the de Cuevas family, Peconic Land Trust, and nearby Quail Hill Farm and Balsam Farms. The unwavering support we have received from our community underscores our continued commitment to our mission of food education.”
Amber Waves Farm will continue committing themselves to the East End community through food education and land stewardship. The farm will also lead the operation of the adjacent Amagansett Farmers Market for the very first time. As the season approaches, the farm will share more exciting details.
“We are looking forward to continuing the pursuit of this mission through many future decades of stewardship of Amber Waves Farm while we welcome the community to enjoy the farm as it grows and evolves,” said Merrow. “The acquisition of our farm land is the culmination of years of effort, and also represents the start of a new and exciting chapter in the evolution of Amber Waves Farm. We’re excited for the work ahead and the opportunity to serve the people of the East End.”
The conservation of the Amagansett Farmers Market and attendant farmland has been under discussion for several years. The finalization of this effort is an exciting time for the community and will be an excellent addition to the upcoming season.
“All of us at the Trust will be forever grateful to Maggie de Cuevas for her strong conservation ethic,” remarked John v.H. Halsey of Peconic Land Trust. “In this case, she stepped up and acquired the Amagansett Farmers Market in 2008 to prevent the property from being developed. Now, she has turned the property over to young farmers and ensured a future of fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, herbs and more on this fertile land. Her gift of additional restrictions on protected farmland is the first of its kind in East Hampton Town. We are very pleased with this outcome, and wish Amber Waves tremendous success as they move forward with their innovative farm operation.”
Sales of protected farmland on Long Island’s South Fork to non-farmers have been as high as $300,000/acre in recent years. This raises the average value of protected farmland to over $100,000/acre which values well beyond the reach of the majority of farmers who grow food. By using Affirmative & Affordable Farming Covenants and Resale Restrictions, the value of the protected farmland can be lowered to its appropriate and “true agricultural value” for food protection.
“Conservation transactions are complex, and it is not unusual for these transactions to take years before they reach fruition,” stated Halsey. “We are very grateful to Pat Struk for working with us to conserve the Market and cannot express fully our gratitude to Maggie de Cuevas for her on-going support of the Trust’s conservation work as exemplified by this important acquisition.”
The Peconic Land Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative includes farmland leases, incubator programs, and sales of protected farmland. This is designed to assure access and affordability for farmers in the future. The goals for Farms for the Future include keeping conserved agricultural land actively farmed, creating opportunities for farmers to start-up and/or expand their agricultural operations, promoting the diversity of farming and farmers on Long Island, encouraging food production, and ensuring that farmland is available and affordable to farmers.
For more information on Amber Waves Farm, visit www.amberwavesfarm.org.For more information on the Peconic Land Trust, call 631-283-3195 or visit www.peconiclandtrust.org.