Having been purchased by East Cooper Land Trust last year, Thornhill Farm in McClellenville will be forever preserved through a conservation easement.
“Farms like Thornhill are vital to our quality of life in the East Cooper area for so many reasons," East Cooper Land Trust Executive Director Catherine Main said. "I’m glad the resources were available to help us save this beautiful farm for future generations.”
The farm was purchased using funds from the Charleston County Greenbelt Board and the South Carolina Conservation Bank.
Since the purchase, officials from East Cooper have been working on a management plan for the farm. As part of that plan, Kyle Ferrell of Spartina Farm Services was tapped as farm manager.
Ferrell plans to focus on crop and animal production, special events, agricultural education and stewardship. The Texas native who has family in the East Cooper area holds degrees in agribusiness and agriculture. As a youth he was active in FFA, showing cattle and poultry.
"I'm incredibly passionate about agriculture and introducing others to the intricacies of our local food systems," Ferrell said. "When I found out about the Thornhill Farm, I was drawn to the opportunity based upon my personal belief that sound farming practices and agriculturalists are our first line of opportunity in conservation."
A five-year lease between the East Cooper Land Trust and Spartina Farm Services goes into effect Oct. 1. After that, the 94-acre farm will begin producing locally raised food that will be distributed throughout the Lowcountry area.
“When farms are profitable and farming is valued, it decreases the threat of losing other small farms to incompatible development," Bill Eubanks, an East Cooper Land Trust board member, said.
An Harvest Feast and Festival at the farm is slated for Oct. 23-25, featuring fresh food prepared by local chef Brannon Florie of The Granary and On Forty One and live music by The Lowhills. There will also be tours of the farm and a variety of family-friendly activities.
Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available online at www.eastcooperland.org.