ALT has worked with partners to permanently conserve over 1,170 acres of farmland across 30 properties with farmland. These are large farms over 100 acres as well as small farms less than 10 acres and include uses like vegetables, orchards, hayfields, nurseries, community farms, livestock, and dairy. Other parties like the State of RI have protected six more parcels on the Island, bringing the amount of conserved farmland to nearly 1,500 acres. However, over 2,500 acres of farmland are currently susceptible to being lost to development.
ALT has worked with farmers across the Island to protect their land. Highlighted active farms that have been protected in partnership with ALT and partners include:
Aquidneck Farms sells grass-fed beef, pastured poultry, and eggs, and sustainably farms hundreds of acres of conserved properties in Portsmouth. Find them at various farmers markets and their farm store on Wapping Road.
Conserved in 1996, Sweet Berry Farm has U-Pick berries and orchards, vegetables, flowers, prepared foods, and local produce across nearly 100 acres of land in Middletown. The post-and-beam structure set back from the road includes a market and café where visitors can sit and enjoy the scenic farm. The site is also used for events and community gatherings. Read the story of how ALT and Sweet Berry Farm started working together.
Set across the Perry and Nunes farms, Newport Vineyards includes over 60 acres of conserved lands in Middletown. Besides selling its various wines on site, the vineyard has a café, restaurant and bar, and multiple rooms for event space. In addition to selling its various wines on site, the vineyard also houses the Aquidneck Growers Market every Saturday 9am–1pm.
Permanently protected in 2001, Bally Machree is an eight-acre organic farm in Middletown that sells produce at the Aquidneck Growers Market.
ALT owns eight acres of farmland off Elizabeth Lane in Middletown, which are leased to two different entities, Aquidneck Community Table and Garman Farm. Aquidneck Community Table runs community gardens and a composting operation across 2.5 acres of the property.
Garman Farm is a 5+ acre organic farm currently leasing ALT-conserved land off of Elizabeth Lane in Middletown. The Garmans have a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and also sell wholesale produce and flowers.
The Thurston family worked with ALT to protect over 16 acres of their farm off of Union Street in Portsmouth in 2002. The farm sells Christmas trees as well as U-Pick blueberries in the summer. View ALT’s video featuring farmer George Thurston to learn more about his family’s historic farm.
In 2003, ALT worked with this large potato farm to protect a 6+ acre parcel in Portsmouth on the border of Sisson Pond. The farm also leases other land that ALT holds conservation easements on.
In 2005, ALT and partners including the State of Rhode Island, USDA-NRCS, and the Town of Portsmouth worked with the Escobars to preserve 75 acres of the dairy farm off of Middle Road in Portsmouth. The Escobars sell milk as part of the RhodyFresh co-op. The farm is also famous for its corn maze every fall and Fourth of July fireworks shows. Escobar Farm also leases other conserved lands to grow corn for their herd.
After raising more than $2 million in less than a year with the generous help of numerous parties, including three governmental entities, six foundations, almost 90 individuals, and a homeowners’ association, Wicks Nursery, a family farm of 37.59 acres located in Portsmouth, was permanently protected in 2011. The farm faced constant development threats prior to 2011, including a proposal in 2008 to convert the farm into an 108-lot subdivision. With the funds from the purchase of development rights, the family has begun restoring the farm and now has a farm-stand and sells wholesale.
Additional Conserved Farms
Aside from the farms highlighted here, ALT also has conservation easements on multiple horse farms and hobby farms across the Island, as well as fallow farmland with prime soil that may be farmed in the future. Other well-known farms on Aquidneck Island that work on protected lands in partnership with other parties include:
Food Map for Aquidneck Island
Aquidneck Community Table has built the Aquidneck Island Food Map, which includes information on local farms, community gardens, and farmers markets.
Middletown, RI 02842