Chilmark: Women farmers, Candidate Forum, library cleanup, and Easter activities

—MV Times

This time of year is full of contrasts. Beautiful sunny days can be followed by cold, rain, and high winds. It is too soon to stow away the gloves, but the flowers have started to bloom in earnest. The daffodils around the red gas pump at the Jenkinson’s on North Road have started.

Spring cleanup calls, and it takes discipline to drop off at the Dumptique or the thrift store without coming home with something. This season I need to clear space.

March was Women’s History Month and I want to give a shout-out to the Agricultural Society for the opportunity to learn more about the experiences of women farming here on the island. The panel was skillfully facilitated by retired farmer, cookbook author, and editor Susie Middleton. The panel featured Kate Woods (Beetlebung Farm), Meg Athearn (Morning Glory Farm), Jo Douglas (Fork to Pork/Leaf to Beef), and Isa Brillard (Island Grown Initiative). Brillard is IGI’s field manager. Many of us are grateful for the IGI soups they give our elders. Brillard reminded us she was at Morning Glory Farm when the first cup of peas contest offered my father the chance to wear the elfin king of the peas hat and sash.

Kate Woods, Beetlebung Farm manager, it turns out, is also a big fan of peas. She also brings a lot of experience, and I am happy they are in the center of our town.

Meg Athearn spoke about being in the fields, and the challenges when children are young. She also manages the MGF booth at the West Tisbury Farmers Market, and it was a treat to get a glimpse into her life and experiences. Her advice when you have kids (or any life change), to not automatically take yourself out of a position in the field or on the tractor, is good for all of us.

I’d admired Jo Douglas’ truck emblazoned with feeding food scraps to pigs, and appreciated hearing about her decision to be a seasonal livestock raiser from spring to fall, not a plant farmer. She brought a lot of experience to the table when she founded Fork to Pork/Leaf to Beef.

They advised us to gain work experience at different places, and not be afraid to move until we find the best fit for our skills, interests, and abilities.

“All of us must survive in a world in which difference is the norm, and no longer serves as an excuse for dominance, or we will not survive at all. And in order to survive in this interconnected global village, we must learn and learn very quickly to respect others who are different from us and, ultimately, to grant to others the autonomy we demand for ourselves. In short, celebrate difference and banish hatred.”  –Gerda Lerner, “A Weave of Connections”

A kind gentleman, William B. Parry, 77, passed away on March 16, 2024, at his home in Chilmark. My heart goes out to his wife, Kathleen Cameron, and the rest of the family, and all who loved and knew him.

The League of Women Voters is holding a Candidate Forum in Chilmark on Thursday evening, April 4 at 6 pm. This is an opportunity for Chilmark residents to hear the candidates speak about why they are running for office, and what issues they could address if elected. The forum is moderated by Dr. Lorna Andrade, a league member who moderated Chilmark’s Candidate Forum in 2023. There are several contested and uncontested races. All candidates will have an opportunity to speak. For those unfamiliar with the League’s town candidate forums, they are just one part of what the league does to promote participation in town government, voting, and civic education. The Chilmark Forum will be filmed for viewing on MVTV, available on channel 13 until the town election.

The Chilmark library kicks off its cleaning on Tuesday, April 2, by setting up a freecycle table. Everyday items looking for a new home will be added. Complementary bags and boxes are available to help you bring the things home.

This weekend we will decorate the Chilmark Church with flowers, prepare seeds to plant in Sunday school, and host an Easter egg hunt at the Chilmark Church.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Claire Ganz,



  1. The Chilmark Candidate Forum, sponsored by the League of women Voters – MV will be held at the Chilmark Community Center this year. Chilmark voters are encouraged to attend!

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