The Edgartown conservation commission is finalizing its request for proposals for a new steward or stewards to take over operations at Katama Farm in Edgartown.
In August, the Edgartown conservation commission severed ties with The Trustees of Reservations and the FARM Institute after a series of disputes over the farm’s use. The following month, the commission formed the Katama Farm Stewardship to evaluate the existing farm and education program, develop criteria for farm management, and recommend a team or teams to manage the property.
The committee — made up of Katama farm abutter representative Ken Michel; Katama Association representative Steven Steinberg; M.V. Ag Society president and Vineyard Farm Bureau representative Brian Athearn; Agricultural Society representative Kristy Rose; conservation agent Jane Varkonda; commissioners Bob Avakian, Jeff Carlson, and Geoff Kontje; and consultant Dr. Rachel Gilker — has met weekly to gather input from farmers, former camp operators, neighbors, and others.
The committee will decide the future steward through two separate requests for proposals (RFP) — one for farming the 140 acres of land and the cow barn, and the other for educational programming on 35 acres at the other structures, existing offices, and teaching kitchen.
In a press release, Varkonda wrote that it is plausible that one or two entities could be awarded the RFP and its leases for operating the farm. Once the RFP is advertised, applicants will have three weeks to submit proposals.
“Those RFPs are close to being finalized and advertised. The committee has also received preliminary input for uses in a request for expressions of interest for the farm, and will be advertising a similar proposal for startup farmers in the expanded community gardens,” the release states. “The goal is to select operators for Katama Farm that will continue the legacy of farming at this facility, be a valuable partner within the farming community, and to continue to enhance and develop the educational component of a teaching farm.”