Located east of Highway 17 North in McClellanville, the 93.96-acre Thornhill Farm contains a seven-acre lake and approximately 22 acres of wooded area. The remaining 65 acres are agricultural fields. The Farm represents a significant anchor site to the important buffer areas for the habitat of the nearby Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, Capers Island State Heritage Preserve, and Bulls Bay Estuary in terms of its conservation value and its potential for greater public use and benefit. Thornhill Farm was a bargain sale purchase in 2014 by the ECLT Foundation (an East Cooper Land Trust-related entity, now Lowcountry Land Trust) using funds from the Charleston County Greenbelt Program and the South Carolina Conservation Bank. Lowcountry Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the entire farm.
Shortly after ECLT and Lowcountry Land Trust merged, Chucktown Acres took over the management of the farm. Chucktown Acres practices regenerative agriculture, a philosophical approach that views farms as ecosystems rather than static components of a supply chain. To Alex Russell, Thornhill Farm’s farmer and the owner of Chucktown Acres, this means managing the land to build and retain topsoil, renourish pastures, and leaving the Lowcountry land better than he found it.
Lowcountry Land Trust and Chucktown Acres share a vision for Thornhill Farm as a community center. Chucktown Acres regularly shares educational content to teach locals where their food comes from and how it is connected to a greater ecosystem. Only a year into its tenancy at Thornhill Farm, it opened a farm store to serve McClellanville that sells products from 15 other local farm and food businesses.
South Carolina loses 200 acres of forests and farmland per day, and Lowcountry Land Trust is committed to slowing this loss through additional protected properties. Thornhill Farm’s land cover and hydrology are representative of farms throughout the Lowcountry and South Carolina and the present threats and opportunities. Lowcountry Land Trust has collaborated with Wit Meets Grit to develop a long-term strategic plan to enhance operations at Thornhill Farm and support its farmer in demonstrating regenerative agricultural practices specific to the Lowcountry.
This Giving Tuesday, we invite you to be a part of this transformative journey. Lowcountry Land Trust is rallying the community to raise $50,000 to propel Thornhill Farm to its full potential. Your support will not only engage Wit Meets Grit in facilitating the strategic plan, but also address on-site drainage challenges, fencing that needs repair, overdue maintenance projects, and labor to make it all happen.
Thornhill Farm isn’t just a farm; it’s a symbol of community, sustainability, and a shared commitment to preserving the Lowcountry’s natural beauty. Join us this Giving Tuesday to sow the seeds of change, ensuring Thornhill Farm thrives for generations to come. Your contribution is not just a donation; it’s an investment in a future where our land flourishes and our community stands strong.
Let’s make Thornhill Farm’s vision a reality together. Donate this Giving Tuesday and be a part of something truly extraordinary. The first $25,000 of donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar!