Help Save Our Educational Farm
Our mission is to teach our local communities, as well as the more global community through online media, that anyone can use permaculture's principle and ethics to achieve a more sustainable and holistic life; that our planet's dire future can be altered for the better by making small changes in the way we think and act; and that community is the most important resource we have. We believe that the inheritance that matters most is the one we leave for the next generation, and that it should be a better place than the one we inhabit now.
With our three small children in tow, we have worked for three years to bring our farm from dairy-farm-turned-country-home back to a working farm, and into a new identity as a community learning space. Sam grew up on the land and we were married here in 2008. We have known for a long time that it is a space worth saving from the encroaching grasp of development, and the perfect location to build our dream. When his parents decided to leave, we leased the farm on a shoe-string budget, and have put all our energy into finding creative ways to preserve and save the space from development.
Since we began truly working the farm, we have been host to many hands-on skills workshops such as building high-tunnel greenhouses, the design and building of rocket mass heaters, cob and plaster work, self-watering gardens through earthworks, "no-stink" biochar outhouses, and designing a chicken coop "biosphere." Sam, an innovator and inventer who studied permaculture under Geoff Lawton , is responsible for the ideas we implement on the farm. Erin raises heritage (and endangered) Pilgrim geese and Swedish ducks, and tends the family's pigs, chickens and gardens, some of which are deditated solely to food pantry donations each year.
This summer the farm saw its largest success when we were chosen to host the third annual New Hampshire Permaculture Day, during which we celebrated community knowledge sharing with over 300 people from across central New England. It was a magical day with 40 classes/workshops and a home-grown and locally-sourced meal, and this farm truly came to life.
So, where do you come in? We started this farm with a grand idea, a shoestring budget, and an opportunity to close out the mortgage debt in the next couple years through easements that would preserve the land forever, regardless of who lives here. It looked like we would be able to make it all come together and the community support and momentum we have gathered has been immense, but this fall we had some catastropic bills that pushed us too far back to catch up. We lost both our aging cars to irreparable break-downs within one week; Sam made an unexpected trip off-farm to help family during a sudden illness; there was an unexpected hike in the lease payment, and a slower-than-anticipated process toward the farm refinancing; the barn roof needs repair to salvage its historical value; all these and several smaller issues have created a perfect storm that threatens to overcome our mission. We are so close to seeing this land preserved under conservation easement for future generations to use and enjoy. We are so close... but not close enough, and the loss of the entire farm to housing development is imminent.
With your help, we can keep this farm in the hands of our community, both local and afar, for all to use as a learning space for generations to come. We have seen the spirit generated by each workshop and class and farm tour we have hosted. We know this can work, if we can just clear this hurdle. We have a solid plan that will allow us to afford the stewardship of the farm. Our future plans are to host permaculture design certification courses; create a wedding location in an oak grove with a view of the mountains; restore the historic suspension barn and use it for functions, community gathering space, and educational workshops; raise more food that we can donate to those in need, and/or donate a section of hayfield to community garden space; research and develop more innovative ways to be sustainable, and pass those ideas along to others; partner with area schools and colleges for sustainability education space and classes; and more.
All-told, with structural repairs to the roof and fees to catch us up with the bank (which will allow the conservation folks to move forward), we need to find $40,000 in the next couple months to resume the momentum toward preservation and continuation of the farm. We have already been blessed by an outpouring of love and support from the community, but we're not there yet. We are grateful for any help, and are asking anyone who wants to partner with us by becoming a financial benefactor to please be in touch. We have many partnership opportunities we can offer, from land use to education exchange, and more.
We thank you for reading, for considering a donation, for sharing this call for help with your friends, and for anything you can do, no matter how small. We hope with all our hearts that we will have the opportunity to meet every donor in person, and we invite you to visit the farm you will become a part of. As a show of our gratitude, we pledge that in the course of our tenure on Inheritance Farm, we will pay forward each and every donation we receive, times three, in money, time, energy, and/or food to future causes that need our love and support.
An inheritance is a transaction between past, present and future. Our experience as stewards of the land is on the shoulders of those who came before us. Those who come next must have strong shoulders to likewise stand upon. What inheritance are we leaving for the next generation? Please help us to create a space where all can find and learn the most crucial inheritance we can offer: a sustainable future.
Check out our new website at www.inheritancefarm.com to follow our blog, meet our collaborative farm families, and to see what we are up to. We are still not all the way to our goal, but we are close., and very grateful to be able to give the farm a new shot. Thank you for supporting this farm and endeavor!
All the best,
Sam and Erin