Financier and philanthropist Donald Sussman has donated a historic 153-acre farm on North Haven Island to the American Farmland Trust, which plans to continue using the property as working farmland.

The American Farmland Trust, a national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland and promoting environmentally sound farming practices, announced the donation of the Turner Farm on Saturday.

The property was one of North Haven’s largest farms in the 1800s, according to a news release from the trust. Under Sussman’s ownership, it has undergone restoration since 2008.

“We’re overwhelmed by Donald Sussman’s generosity,” said John Piotti, American Farmland Trust president and CEO, in the release. “Turner Farm is not only an incredibly beautiful place, but it is a vibrant farm that serves the local community and models some important agricultural practices. We are honored to take on responsibility for the future of this unique coastal farm.”

In addition to its farming operation, Turner Farm is home to a significant archaeological dig that occurred in the 1970s and that included the discovery of artifacts dating as far back as 5,000 years ago.

“Native people have been living on this piece of land long before European settlers arrived in Maine,” Piotti said. “The historical significance of this land is foremost in our minds as we plan for its future.”

Sussman is the former owner of the Portland Press Herald and has donated millions to philanthropic causes in the U.S. and around the world. Earlier this month, he donated $6 million to the University of the Virgin Islands to be used to open an accredited medical school, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News.

In Maine, Sussman’s philanthropic efforts have included a $1 million donation in 2013 to Pen Bay Healthcare to launch a hospice center and a donation of nearly $500,000 in land last year to Community Housing of Maine for an affordable housing project in Portland.


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