Edgartown looks at separate farming, education activities for Katama Farm 

The Edgartown conservation commission is looking at creating separate leases for Katama Farm. One for the educational component and another for farming. — Lucas Thors

The Edgartown conservation commission is now looking to split farming and educational activities at Katama Farm, following the eviction of The Trustees of Reservations this summer.

At a meeting Friday, the conservation commission voted to create a subcommittee of conservation commissioners, conservation agent Jane Varkonda, and various Island agricultural stakeholders to discuss the potential of two requests for proposals, one focusing on farming, the other on education.

Earlier this year, commissioners raised concerns with Trustee’s Islands director Sam Hart about the use of the farm. Commissioners felt there was too big a focus on events and the teaching kitchen at the FARM Institute, and too little focus on agricultural production. Among the many issues, commissioners were unhappy with the significant decline in livestock, compared with the 2016 farm-use plan. 

The commission also gave the Trustees another month to vacate the property. Trustees were originally asked to leave the farm by Sept. 15; the commission has now twice extended the deadline.

Hart said The Trustees are continuing some last-season grazing for the health of the pasture, spreading lime for the soil, and making sure the farm is ready for The Trustees’ successor.

Hart told The Times by phone Wednesday The Trustees and the FARM Institute are interested in being involved with the educational component of Katama Farm, if the town and the commission decide to split duties on the property.

“As far as the education program, we are very much interested in being a part of that,” Hart said.