Photos by Michael Halsband
Text and captions by Scott Chaskey
My name is Scott Chaskey and I have been fortunate to farm garlic, greens, potatoes (and sixty other crops) for the Peconic Land Trust, at Quail Hill Farm on the eastern end of Long Island, for the past 27 years. Twice a week 250 families visit the farm, one of the original CSA's (Communited Supported Agriculture) in the country, to harvest their share of the crops; we grow over 500 varieties of vegetables, fruit, and flowers.
For the farmer aware of ethical choice and ecological necessity, each flick of the hoe, each pass with the disc harrow, each disturbance of wild nature can also be an act that supports the integrity and beauty of the land. The Trust, a conservation organization founded in 1983 by John Halsey and friends, has to date protected over 12,000 acres on the East End of Long Island. For a couple of decades we were singular in creating a marriage between conservation and community farming; our mission has been to encourage more of it. From a handful of farms in 1986, it is estimated that over 6,000 CSA’s are presently growing, cultivating, and harvesting in our United States.
Each year Quail Hill Farm employs apprentices to learn the trade and to expand the business of sustainable/ ecological farming on soils that should be farmed, and through “Farms for the Future” the Trust links aspiring farmers with available land. Quail Hill Farm is in the best sense a communal response to the preservation needs of a seaside place, an attempt to create and conserve what Aldo Leopold, the author of “A Sand County Almanac,” calls “a state of harmony between men and land.”