The right farmer, and thanks for your generous consideration


To the Editor:We find it well, in lieu of family returning to Tea Lane Farm, that the town of Chilmark has chosen Krishana Collins as the new tenant farmer. Given the long stewardship of my great grandmother Virginia Silva, it somehow seems fitting that a determined young woman will take on the rebuilding of the homestead and write the next chapter for this special place.

Together with our family, we pray she will be blessed with an abundance of passion, fortitude, and community spirit as she labors to return the land to productivity. We wish her well.

Everywhere we have been in the last few weeks, people have expressed their concern and disappointment for us. The following is a letter in response to those who have nurtured us through the very long process in deed and spirit:

Words can’t thank you enough for all your efforts and enthusiasm in support of our proposal to revitalize the family farm. Our plan was sound, filled with our innate passion, community commitment, and practical experience, as well as the knowledge necessary to succeed in bringing it back to productivity.

As one of six semifinalists interviewed by the farm committee, we felt confident we would make it to the final round. Ultimately, it turned out to not be enough to keep us in the running. Disappointed to learn we did not make the final cut, we are extremely sad to lose the opportunity to bring all our agricultural endeavors together in one place.

Although this effectively ends what has been for us a decade-plus dream of farming this special piece of land, we want you to know we will not be deterred. Our commitment to produce quality food for our family will continue, as well as our advocacy to build a strong, local food system. Our passion for sharing the need and value of sustainable agriculture will not be diminished.

Each of you has truly touched our hearts so deeply that there is no way words alone can even begin to express the fullness of our gratitude. We are so blessed to count you among our closest friends and can only hope we will be honored some day to find a way to repay you for your generosity.

Melinda Rabbitt DeFeo

Mark DeFeo