Morning Glory Farm

In the early 1980s, VCS launched a major conservation project at what is today Morning Glory Farm. The goal was the preservation of working farmland and the scenic roadside vista at the approach to Edgartown. The specific strategy was to assemble a financing package to purchase a permanent agricultural restriction on 18.3 acres of fields fronting the Edgartown/West Tisbury Road.

This was ultimately accomplished through a partnership of many stakeholders, including: the landowners, who agreed to sell their development rights at a bargain price for conservation purposes; the state, who awarded grant funds for the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR); the town of Edgartown, who voted to supplement the APR grant; VCS, who helped raise more private funds from the community; and finally, then tenant-farmers Jim and Debbie Athearn, who subsequently purchased the land.

The result was a tremendous success, broader than the original goal of preserving a farm field and scenic vista. Today, Morning Glory Farm is a successful family-run business, and a leader in the local agriculture movement on Martha’s Vineyard, the success and diversity of which can be seen in this map. Ripple effects of the project include impacts on additional land conservation nearby, such as the Land Bank purchases at Ben Toms Preserve and Sweetened Water Preserve.

Photos by Brendan O'Neill