Our purpose is to demonstrate the viability, practicality, and joy of growing high quality food crops for personal and local consumption. We intend to demonstrate viability at various scales, from individual to family to small business. The project will also engage local students in hands-on learning. This is a community project, making growing practical for our Aquidneck neighbors.
The Island Community Farms @ Green End project includes:
- The John C. Clarke Heirloom & Childrenʼs Garden
- The Green End Community Gardens
- The Sustainable Aquidneck Educational Micro-Farm
- The first Permaculture Food Forest on Aquidneck Island
- Several micro-farming plots cultivated by island residents
- Community spaces, including the existing ring path and a future exercise circuit
- The Island’s first Community Supported Honey project – CSH
- A composting center collecting materials from Island sources (This is Sustainable Aquidneck’s first incubation project.)
This project is being developed on 8.3 acres of conserved agricultural land in Middletown RI. The land has been leased from the Aquidneck Land Trust for a minimum of five years.
We believe that SA-ICF is the first charitable and educational agriculture project on the island since Rhode Island founding father: Rev. John Clarke, established a teaching farm for the poor in his will.
According to the John Clarke Trust (The oldest educational trust fund in the United States.):
“upon his death in 1676, John Clarke left no descendants, and his will instructed that a trust be created “for the relief of the poor and the bringing up of children unto learning from time to time forever.” http://www.johnclarkesociety.org/JCS/Trust.htm
Known locally in recent years as Silvia Farm, the land was farmed in Colonial and Revolutionary eras by the Howland and Haggard families. Through much of the 1900’s the Silvia family grew potatoes. It was then turned over to sod, and most recently, cow corn. The corn fed the cows at Escobar’s Highland Farm where it became Farm Fresh RI milk.
While designated “Prime Farmland” by the USDA, the soil has still been degraded by “standard” farming practices. As stewards, we intend to restore the land to the highest level of vitality and organic fertility. The life of the soil feeds the life of us all. The site has benefitted from resting fallow for the last eighteen months.
Currently, a 1/3 mile grass perimeter is used by neighbors for dog-walking and jogging, and by a local equestrian center as a horse riding trail. We have incorporated these activities into our plan for the land.