Community Supported Agriculture heads back to Whippoorwill Farm

Community Supported Agriculture heads back to Whippoorwill Farm

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The headquarters for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a private farming cooperative on Martha’s Vineyard, will move from the Thimble Farm property in Tisbury back to Whippoorwill Farm on Old County Road in West Tisbury for the 2012 season.

Whippoorwill Farm owner Andrew Woodruff, who runs the CSA operations, announced the news in the organization’s October newsletter online on Tuesday, October 18. Mr. Woodruff said Thimble Farm owner Eric Grubman has been very supportive of the CSA but wants to transfer ownership of the property by early 2012, which leaves CSA’s future there uncertain.

In 2007, CSA was using the Thimble Farm land when it went on the market. Mr. Grubman, a National Football League executive and Edgartown summer resident, bought the 37-acre farm in Oak Bluffs for $2.45 million. He said at the time that he was committed to keeping the land in sustainable food production. CSA officials, in turn, said that Mr. Grubman’s purchase of the land would give them time to set up some form of nonprofit ownership structure.

Last August, representatives of Island conservation, agriculture, and housing groups, local farmers, and interested Island residents met at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury to plan how they might raise money to buy Thimble Farm by the year’s end.

CSA is a marketing structure in which consumers buy farm shares in advance. Each week in the growing season, shareholders pick up vegetables, herbs, and flowers from a farm stand on the property. The advance sale of shares pays for seeds, fertilizer, farm maintenance, and labor. Thimble Farm’s central location, parking, and ample infrastructure proved popular with local consumers.