Conserving Long Islands Working Farms and Natural Lands

Farms for the Future Initiative

Join Us In Protecting Farmland For Farmers!

Why this matters:

Since the 1970s, when Suffolk County’s landmark legislation created the first purchase of development rights pro8 Hands Farmgram in the nation to ensure the future of agriculture on Long Island, over 12,000 acres of farmland have been protected from development through the efforts of many, including the Town of Southampton and private conservation organizations like the Peconic Land Trust.  While we have protected this critical resource from development, we are now painfully aware that these thousands of acres have not been protected for farming, especially in Southampton.    

Addressing this vexing, unanticipated problem requires multiple solutions by Suffolk County, Southampton Town, and organizations like the Peconic Land Trust and the South Fork Land Foundation. 

In an April 25, 2013 Viewpoint in the Southampton Press, Trust President John v.H. Halsey wrote: "If we as a community we do not change the status quo, we will have very few farmers producing food on the South Fork within a generation. If we want local food and the farmers who produce it to endure, all sectors of our community must work together to make it happen." (To read the full Viewpoint, click here.)

ApplesThe protection of farmland is the highest priority of the Community Preservation Fund, and the continuation of farming, especially the production of fresh, local food, is a defining attribute of our community character.

Since our founding in 1983, the Peconic Land Trust has preserved more working farms on Long Island than any other private conservation organization. Within the last decade, our focus has changed slightly -- land protection remains first and foremost, but protecting the land for food production farming has grown in importance. 

In 2008, the Trust introduced its Farms for the Future Initiative. Through a formalized program, the Trust actively seeks to not only protect the farmland -- particularly that which is threatened by development -- but to also grow the resource. Our initiative's primary objectives are to: 

I.   Explore and refine a new set of conservation tools and techniques that address the issues of farmland accessibility, affordability, and sustainability (see Overlay Easements with Affordable and/or Affirmative Farming Covenants)
II.  Buy, protect, rebuild and resell farms to farmers
III. Develop and expand our Farmland Leasing Program

Please join our efforts to ensure that local food remains an important part of our Long Island heritage. For more information, and to get involved, contact Dan Heston at 631.283.3195. To receive updates on our conservation efforts, please join our mailing list



The Peconic Land Trust leases farmland to farmers on both the North and South Forks of Long Island, predominately at the Deborah Light Preserve, Town Lane Preserve and the Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm (the Centers) -- including Balsam Farms, Amber Waves Farm, Sang Lee. The following are a few examples of food production farmers we've worked with, in addition to the farmers currently operating at one of our Centers:  

Browders Birds



It takes many people to ensure that Long Island's furture includes productive farms, here are a few of our partners: