Island Reach

At Island Reach and Berkshire Sweet Gold Maple Farm, we explore relationships between wild perennial ecosystems and the people who interact with them.  We research, develop and apply models of harvesting, processing, and market alternatives in the interest of supporting biocultural diversity. Our theories and practices are based on principles which hold that biological and cultural domains are both inextricably linked and co-condition one another. We use a range of investigative frames to structure a question informing a bedrock of sustainability:  In what ways do our actions build, stabilize or deplete biocultural diversity?
Agroforestry activities at the farm have matured with strong and enthusiastic direct markets along this Eastern seaboard.  In 2011, we expanded research and labor from forest to ocean, with a “ridge-to-reef” conservation project aboard Research Vessel Llyr, a 53′ blue-water steel sailing ketch. In 2013, we created Island Reach.

Island Reach provides a mobile work platform aboard RV Llyr, as well as skilled support services, to local and regional projects building biocultural resilience in Vanuatu.

Visit our website at to learn more about social enterpreneurs,  family scale marine activism and research, agroforestry and cutting-edge direct-market designs for environmental management!  We hope you will contact us and explore how you can become further involved!


Janis Steele, Ph.D. & Brooks McCutchen, Ph.D. and Connor, Rowan & Gavin Steele-McCutchen  (Use this link for initial contact.  When we are at sea we will respond via a Sailmail SSB radio address.)

6 thoughts on “Island Reach

  1. Love your picture!
    If you link to me (add a links section) I can spread the coverage a bit (see website link above). I’m also on Linkedin and Facebook (and even Will you add any live action pics here? Or your sailing schedules?
    It’s a WIRED world!

  2. So exciting to read about your adventures! This is an adventure of a lifetime and we can share in your experience via your blog. Hope Rowan is Ok and hugs from us “landlubbers”. Ron & Georgene

  3. Looking forward to your reconnect whether through sail-mail or e-mail. Judge you to be in Jocmel today, Wednesday 6. Good talk with Shirley who is in good spirits about the move, seems to be in good hands, though with other news she is trying to get to you. Very cool and wet here, with no hope of haying at the moment. With respect, curiosity and support. Leighton

  4. Tess will be reporting stateside shortly. She was ready to leave yesterday. May your Panama connection be fruitful and rewarding. Laurel

  5. Bonsoir la famille!!!!!!!

    I just cannot stop reading your blog of your extraordinary voyage/project !
    It is just fascinating and I am so happy to be somehow part of your journey through your photos and writings!
    I have shared all about it to Flora ( I am sure you remember her!!!!)
    She works at The Earth Institute at Columbia University and is eager to hear more about your projects!
    I am so inspired by you all and I hope very much we can see each other again ……at the Heath Fair!!!!!! Hahaha! Good old memories!!!!!
    Love to you five
    Bon voyage !!!!!
    Anne, Flora et Carolyne

    My email is

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