Daufuskie Island, S.C. – The Daufuskie Community Farm continues to bring residents together as they work toward a common goal – protecting their island way of life.
Pat Beichler, the Director of Sustainable Living for Daufuskie, started the farm in 2010 with the hope this endeavor would allow island residents to become more self-sufficient and free from everyday reliance on the mainland. The fact that 50 volunteers from every corner of the 5,200-acre island work together to maintain the farm and ensure all residents can benefit from the “fruits of their labor” is an added bonus that brings Beichler great joy.
“When I moved here (Haig Point) 16 years ago, hardly anyone came out the back gate,” Beichler says. “I wanted to do something that would bring the island together, and it’s been so rewarding to see people from every community getting their hands dirty.”
According to Lynell Linke, the farm’s new manager, volunteers put in about six to eight hours a day of basic maintenance. There are usually four to five volunteers on the farm any given day or as many as 20 on specified work days. And there’s no shortage of work to be done, she says. The Daufuskie Community Farm includes a garden, orchard, 60 chickens, 22 goats, seven ducks, six geese and two cows that need to be tended to daily. Everything harvested from the farm is offered free-of-charge to the 150 or so Daufuskie Community Farm members.
“We are all family on the farm,” Linke says. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. It’s hard work, but it’s fun.”
The farm exists solely on the generosity of that “family” in the way of donations. Even the land was generously leased for 10 years for a dollar. Island residents sponsor an animal or give a regular donation to keep the farm growing. There are no paid positions for farm hands and no time off for bad weather or holidays.
“The farm only heightens our connection to one another because it gives us a sense of accomplishment,” Linke says. “No one person could maintain the farm and make it flourish. It takes all of us.”
Linke says she has Pat to thank for starting this initiative, which “has a way of bringing people together to celebrate the beauty of the whole island.”
Beichler says, “It’s been really rewarding to see this project blossom …. to see people from Haig Point, Melrose, Bloody Point and the historic district working together because they are all passionate about this unique island we call home.”
ARTISAN VILLAGE ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR
Island residents invite others to visit the community they hold so dear. On Saturday, Dec. 13, the Daufuskie Community Farm will present the second annual Artisan Village Arts & Crafts Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. The event will feature Daufuskie artisans with their “Made on Daufuskie” items. It will be held in the Dairy Barn on the farm. All local artisans are welcome to participate by emailing Pat Beichler at firstname.lastname@example.org.