The FARM Institute is located on the historic Katama Farm, a farm that dates back to the early 1900s. In 1943, Elisha Smith bought Katama Farm and started a dairy collaborative with six dairy cows. In 1964, Elisha Smith sold Katama Farm to the Strock Family who drew up plans to divide the farm into 700 buildable lots.
Strock Enterprises went bankrupt in 1977 and Katama Farm became a property of a Boston Bank. From a collaborative fundraising and conservation effort between the newly formed “Committee to Do Something,” the Open Land Foundation, the Vineyard Conservation Society, the Edgartown Conservation Commission, local Katama neighbors and town and state offices, Katama Farm was purchased by the town and the Edgartown Conservation Commission became the landlord of Katama Farm.
In 1980, Stephen Potter was the first tenant of the Katama Farm and operated Seaside Dairy with a herd of Holsteins. Seaside Dairy was eventually forced to close due to mounting debts. Two subsequent dairy farmers also failed.
In 2005, The FARM Institute (founded in 2000) moved from Herring Creek Farm to Katama Farm and restoration of the buildings and grounds began.