The Donald A. Burns Foundation is helping support a brighter future for the community of Nantucket, Massachusetts, by providing funding to a number of local organizations. One of these groups is Sustainable Nantucket, a nonprofit that is working towards creating a more prosperous economy and a self-sustainable island.
By providing education and other valuable resources, this grassroots organization hopes to encourage local residents to produce and purchase locally-sourced goods. In addition to the resulting economic benefits, Sustainable Nantucket’s efforts will help build a community of farmers, reduce the island’s environmental impact, and help residents eat more nutritious produce.
Sustainable Nantucket facilitates a number of programs, ranging from regular Farmer’s Markets to an ongoing Farm to School project, that support its mission. Perhaps one of the organization’s most prominent initiatives is its Community Farm Institute (CFI), which focuses on increasing the creation and distribution of agricultural products across the island.
CFI also helps enable the work of budding farmers through its Agricultural Apprenticeship program, which provides valuable work experience to those who are not fully prepared to open a farming business of their own. Throughout the program, these individuals benefit from the expertise of mentor farmers who support their work and provide hands-on instruction.
The Donald A. Burns Foundation participated in Sustainable Nantucket’s Adopt-an-Apprentice initiative by fulfilling the monetary requirements for one apprentice to join the CFI in 2016. With this support, the organization took on a young Vanderbilt University graduate who served as an apprentice of both the Farmer’s Market and the CFI. Over the course of four months, she was able to work directly beneath a mentor farmer and farm site manager to learn all aspects of farm maintenance.
After gaining experience with a pollinator garden, the apprentice planted and grew produce on a small plot of land at the community farm. She supplemented this farming experience with weekend visits to the local Farmer’s and Artisan’s Market, where she sold her wares to her fellow community members. Through the support of the Donald A. Burns Foundation, this apprentice was able to cultivate the early expertise that she would need to establish her first business.