top of page
Search

The Groundhog Saw His Shadow!

The Groundhog Saw his Shadow!


Even though it was seventeen degrees yesterday morning on the farm and this is a Leap year so February is a day longer this year, it is clear that in “farm time” Spring is just around the corner. The days are getting longer, the hay storage is getting thinner and the list of must-do’s this week is growing. With all the investments made in the property and programming last year, the planning for this spring and summer required me — with input from the Board — to take a hard look at our long term financial and agricultural operation sustainability. 


It is no secret that small family farms in New England are going away: getting developed or just turning into goldenrod and eventually forest. As the linked story discusses, over 80% of New England farmland has disappeared in the last sixty years - and the article does a great job explaining why that matters. I began the Rescue & Education Center non-profit as a way to avoid this fate for our small farm after my husband’s death and as a nod to our marriage coming about partly as a result of my political advocacy for farms over thirty years ago. Understanding the challenges and working to address them doesn’t make us immune from them though!


Most small farms rely on outside income from a non-farmer to support the family. That has always been me. Last summer, the size of our programming and the resulting needs of the farm required far more of my time and treasure than is sustainable while also working full-time — the most crucial element to keeping the farm in its current use and, hopefully, in our family. This year’s programming will be scaled back to attempt again to achieve break-even operations with  a dedicated core of volunteers and family that will allow us to build a strong foundation for future growth. 


As we add programming and activities we will be thoughtful about their sustainability & quality. Here is what we are definitely doing this spring:


Planting: We have a lot of compost to spread and turn and a lot of beds that were developed last year. We also have 30 or so berry plants that need attention & cultivating. We are going to narrow what we are growing this year and focus on: Flowers, Herbs & Plants that grew well last year, dry well and have value in agri-tourism and continue to support the bees. We will expand the lavender plants which thrived last year - and started 2 thousand teeny, tiny seeds inside. We also started pumpkins and tomatoes (because I like fresh tomatoes & will can salsa and sauce). We will be starting sunflowers from the seeds we harvested last year. 



I have invested in a rototiller which was really needed last year.


If you like gardening, I will post some dates in late May to come volunteer with planting! Until then, you will see the growth if you are in the Store grabbing eggs.


Animals/Rescue: Right now we have six ducks, about 30 hens and four mini goats. We have an enthusiastic volunteer discussing bringing some sheep up to the farm for some interesting education programming - stay tuned. We certainly have capacity from a land standpoint for additional rescues. It is the care of the animals on a regular basis that will determine our acceptance of additional animals. 


We are always looking for volunteers - especially for mornings or weekends. Those who volunteer regularly will tell you that it is a cherished part of their week. And the animals are easy - no prior experience needed. Please send a note if you would like to try it out!


Or, just come and buy eggs! We also continue to sell house plants and potpourri at the store!




Education Programming: As the weather warms up and the activity increases, we hope our school friends will plan field trips to the farm. We have a curriculum with Bootstrap Compost aligned to Massachusetts Curriculum Standards and lots of activities that work well with project-based, hands-on learning. Please reach out to jane@chfarm.org to schedule a visit! We are still considering what limited programs we may offer this summer - stay tuned!


Fundraising: We continue to rely on donations to keep the animals fed and cared for and to provide the outreach to schools & programming with Bootstrap. Please consider a donation through our website, or mail a check to CHARM, 580 Henderson Road, Williamstown, MA 01267. It is greatly appreciated.

62 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page