Native Earth Teaching Farm is an historic 35-acres of woods,
streams, pastures, and farm fields located on North Road in Chilmark
which once belonged to legendary whaler and storyteller Cap’n George
Fred Tilton. In the late 1920s, this land was purchased by James
Gilbert, and in recent years has been farmed by Rebecca Gilbert and
Randy Ben David. The farm forms a strategic link in a greenbelt of open
space protecting the Mill Brook and Paint Mill Brook watersheds in
Chilmark and West Tisbury.
Today, Native Earth is run by Rebecca and Randy as a farm education center involving teachers and school children in
educational programs, sharing the message of sustainable agriculture with the public, offering community garden programs, and promoting the
notion of buying locally. The Vineyard Conservation Society worked
successfully with the owners to purchase the development rights to the
farm in 2005, resulting in a conservation restriction (CR) held by the
Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation.