East Cooper Land Trust purchased Thornhill Farm last November, utilizing funds available through the Charleston County Greenbelt Board and the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Now the farm is protected forever through a Conservation Easement.
“Farms like Thornhill are vital to our quality of life in the East Cooper area for so many reasons. I’m glad the resources were available to help us save this beautiful farm for future generations.” Catherine Main, East Cooper Land Trust Executive Director.
Since that time, East Cooper Land Trust has been developing a management plan for the farm and has selected Kyle Ferrell of Spartina Farm Services as the farm manager.
The East Cooper Land Trust is very excited about Kyle’s plans for the farm which include crop and animal production, special events, agricultural education, and a strong stewardship component. Kyle, a native of Texas, has family in the East Cooper area and was drawn to the beauty of the area as well as the agricultural opportunities this climate provides. Kyle has both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Agribusiness and Agriculture and brings a wealth of experience and new ideas to the farm. His enthusiasm is contagious. Growing up Kyle was active in his local FFA chapter showing steers and poultry. He has served in agricultural leadership/professional roles at the local, regional, and national levels.
"I'm incredibly passionate about agriculture and introducing others to the intricacies of our local food systems. 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." Kyle Ferrell
When Kyle isn't busy working he is an avid fly fisherman and also enjoys working with his hunting dog.
The East Cooper Land Trust has entered into a five year lease with Spartina Farm Services that begins on October 1, 2015. Soon, his farm will be producing locally raised food for the Lowcountry to enjoy, all from a beautiful farm that is protected forever.
“When farms are profitable and farming is valued, it decreases the threat of losing other small farms to incompatible development. We want this farm to be a model of both sustainability and profitability.” Bill Eubanks, FASLA and East Cooper Land Trust Board Member.
Before the East Cooper Land Trust acquired Thornhill Farm, this beautiful 94-acre farm near McClellanville had been at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement for years under the guidance of Maria Baldwin of Our Local Foods. Baldwin had worked closely with Lowcountry Local First’s apprentice program and her produce was a staple of many Charleston area restaurants and Farmers Markets. Baldwin had ceased her farming operations at Thornhill and since the farm was on the market it was considered a threatened property, worthy of protection. Jon Darling of A Darling Farm has been at Thornhill Farm for two years and stayed on to oversee the farm during our management transition. He has been using the land for his pigs and sheep and plans to continue farming locally.
In October the East Cooper Land Trust will host a two-day event on the farm: Harvest Feast and Festival. The Harvest Feast will take place on Friday, October 23rd, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM and will feature fresh food prepared by local chef Brannon Florie of The Granary and On Forty One and live music by The Lowhills with the company of other conservation-minded people at this seated farm supper. The Harvest Festival will take place on Sunday, October 25th from 12:00 to 4:00 PM and will feature a tour the farm, a chance to meet some of the animals, and to enjoy local food and goods. There will be lots of family-friendly activities including paddle boarding and a jump castle. South State Bank, Gil Shuler Graphic Design, Mount Pleasant Waterworks, and Roper St. Francis are current sponsors of the event.
“I have lived in this area my whole life. My family lives in Mt. Pleasant and we have land in McClellanville. I serve as the Chairman of the Board of the East Cooper Land Trust because I feel passionate about conservation of the precious land that creates our wonderful quality of life.” Richard Morrison, Consulting Forester, East Cooper Land Trust Board Chairman
If you would like to get involved with conservation in the East Cooper area, please contact us. The more people we have involved, the more land we can conserve.
Join us on the farm for these two special events and help us celebrate local agriculture and conservation efforts in the East Cooper area and meet our new Farm Manager, Kyle Ferrell. Tickets are available online. To find out about available sponsorship opportunities, please call the office at 843-224-1849 or Contact Us.
Kyle Ferrell and Executive Director Catherine Main at Thornhill Farm