Suyematsu Farm Legacy Alliance

Organized in 2023, the Suyematsu Farm Legacy Alliance (SFLA) is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the living legacy and heritage of Akio Suyematsu and his family’s original farm as a community asset involving a center of active farming, interpretation, and education.  

Our Alliance of concerned stakeholders consists of:

  • Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farmers Guild
  • The Suyematsu Family
  • Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC)
  • Indipino Community of Bainbridge Island and Vicinity
  • Bainbridge Preservation Community 
  • EduCulture & The Only What We Can Carry Project 

Founded in 1928, the original forty acres of Suyematsu Family Farm is one of the oldest, continuously farmed working landscapes in the region, and today is the largest production farm in Kitsap County.  It is the hub of our Island’s farming community and a treasured and iconic cultural asset.  

Since the period of Japanese American Exclusion, Suyematsu Family Farm has been one of the most inclusive places on Bainbridge Island.  The farm has become an established historic and cultural site for teaching and learning about the Japanese American experience, and a living bookend to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial. 

The Picker Cabins, once seasonally occupied by Filipino farmworkers and First Nation families who migrated to the Island to pick berries, among others, help to preserve the origins of Bainbridge Island’s Indipino Community.

Akio Suyematsu practiced what he called “clean living”. “If you take care of the land,” he said, “it will take care of you”.  As a farmer, he was always ahead of his time.   Akio was principled and had a strong moral compass.  He was a quiet leader and mentor. 

In 2001, Akio Suyematsu sold to the City of Bainbridge Island (COBI) the remaining fifteen-acres of his family farm.  Formal ownership of this property transferred to COBI upon Akio’s death in 2012. In 2016, five-acres of the Suyematsu Farm, including its original farm buildings, were listed in the Bainbridge Island Historic Register and was dedicated as the Island’s first ever Historic Preservation District (HPD).

SFLA is committed to cultivating strong working relationships to support permanent preservation of Historic Farmstead, as well as, the surrounding city-owned working landscape within the original forty acres of the Suyematsu Family Farm, in order to protect the living history and the agricultural and educational legacy of Akio Suyematsu.

SFLA is working towards this community landmark realizing its full potential as a cultural, interpretive, and educational center for the history, culture and heritage of Akio Suyematsu, the Suyematsu Family, the Island’s larger agricultural heritage, and Japanese American and Indipino experiences on Bainbridge Island. SFLA’s goals include: 

  • Stabilizing and restoring the 5-acre historic area listed in the Bainbridge Island Register of Historic Places.
  • Placing the farm on State & National Historic Registers.
  • Improving the successfulness of the current master farmers on Suyemastsu Farm who are Akio Suyematsu’s agricultural legacy.  

At every major stage of Akio’s life, he experienced some form of adversity which set him back, or, tried to set him back.  At every one of these stages and episodes, Akio always found courage and conviction to persevere and triumph.  Akio Suyematsu’s life and life’s work reflects and represents the story of Bainbridge Island.  His legacy as a life-long Bainbridge Island resident and master farmer is one of perseverance, integrity, dignity, stewardship, sustainability and citizenship.

More about Historic Suyematsu Farm

More about Akio Suyematsu

Please help SFLA preserve Akio’s legacy by repairing, restoring, revitalizing the Historic Suyematsu Farm Property.

Our immediate and primary fundraising priority is the stabilization, rehabilitation and restoration of the original barn, Suyematsu family home, and picker cabins.

You can support the preservation efforts for this vital historic cultural asset with a gift to Suyematsu Farm Legacy Alliance via One Call for All.