This venture came about through a series of fortuitous events - and one tough reality for our family. In late December our Farmer - Chuck - died. Chuck's family has farmed this property for over 100 years. He grew up putting in hay, milking cows, riding his horse (we heard from a friend that he would actually ride to baseball pick-up games!), and helping his mother and grandmother with chickens for meat. The chicken duties were his least favorite and a large part of his eventual vegetarian lifestyle. When unwitting friends would ask about having chickens Chuck would regale them with the gory details!
Over our ownership of the last 20 years, the farm has been a few different things. People often ask, "Is it a working farm?" And here is something everyone should know: Whether it is producing income or not, every farm is WORK. To keep the fields and spaces open takes a lot of effort. Chuck partnered with a local riding instructor and combined his love for the farm with his educational background to run a horseback riding facility for a while. He had a lot of opinions about horses and how finicky they could be. But he was a softie. Despite the Carharrt (for real, not show) wardrobe and calloused hands his kindness for all animals and people was the anchor of our farm & our family. With a newly transplanted kidney, and feeling better than he had in years, he hoped to milk cows again to do small batch dairy. That was not to be - and Jane (aka - the widow-farmer) writes about that journey on her personal blog.
As our family began to think about how to best utilize the farm we reconnected with a family friend, Renee. Renee's successful venture as an entrepreneur in the Berkshires with her growing LoveUSandLeaveUS pet boarding facility had her mulling a non-profit animal rescue operation in the Berkshires. The one existing facility is run by an older woman who is slowly winding down her operation. After quite a few conversations and a lot of work, Renee & Jane settled on a non-profit that meets both their philanthropic goals, utilizes their complementary skills and experiences, and creates value in the community.
We know Chuck would love our mission. We also are taking the freedom of starting from scratch to build an offering that will be self-sustaining, keep the farm in open space and provide more education and outdoor activities to local and visiting families. We have filed our organizational papers with the Secretary of State, we are making great progress on the land & in the barn, we have formed a Board and we will shortly file for non-profit status. There are a lot of needs we can meet in the community but our mission is set: Inspire children and adults to engage in, learn about, and enjoy agriculture, the natural environment, animal science & care and to support the local economy and preserve working agricultural land.
We hope you will enjoy coming along on this journey with us!