We have been busy this winter, and the term “busy” is not one I use lightly. I often try to avoid the term altogether because it denotes a sort of preoccupation with stress or ordeals or maybe even self-righteousness. Instead when asked I liked to say “I’m having fun” or “I have some interesting projects going on”, etc. Both of these things are true currently. I also am a little bit more focused on the farm than I normally like to be in January.
BUT, like I said, I cannot possibly complain. I am, of course, the luckiest person on Earth, and so I try to carry myself accordingly and not sulk. We bought some land this past Halloween with a USDA 30-year line of credit in Glocester, RI off of Snake Hill Road in Chepachet. It is 11-acres of land that is currently being cleared of pine and aspen and will soon have the woody brush mowed down. I know many of you have spoken with Mindy and I over the years about our long search for land, and I truly appreciate your support and friendship and enthusiasm for us as we went through this process. Well, we’ve done it.
Our plan is to transition slowly off of the property that we currently are on, Urban Edge Farm. UEF is where we have called home now for seven years and it will be hard to walk away when the time comes. I have learned so much about myself and farming and have made so many friends through UEF that it is hard to imagine not working there anymore, but this is still some years away. We will still be farming at UEF for at least the next couple years. However, the work must begin on the new land, Snake Hill. Our goal for 2015 is to put up a barn, a bunch of greenhouses, some deer fencing and start the process of turning our naturally rocky, acidic RI soil into dynamic, biologically exuberant, power medium. We hope to have all of you out to Snake Hill some time soon and look forward to having some bonfires with all the brush we have been clearing thus far.
And in comes the New Year, another trip around the agricultural calendar with it’s hopes, anticipations, hard work, failures, laughs, messes, successes, beauties, conjectures, and refutations. The joy of working with natural systems and the soul of New England agriculture is it’s unpredictability.
We will be jumping into some exciting projects this year: a more advanced approach to compost tea production, new equipment for prepping beds, building greenhouses for expanding our Winter CSA, applying for some grants, anticipating some fruit tree plantings, building a farm, expanding the CSA to work for social justice, continuing our collaboration with local Universities, and continuing to learn and teach.
We are also going to be taking a new approach to our CSA and try to form a small “inner-circle” of long-term CSA members who can help us move the farm forward and accomplish some of our larger goals, on-farm and off-farm. More details about that soon.
I want to take this moment to welcome you back to Big Train Farm. If you are a new or potential-new member we hope you will become part of the Big Train Family. Our members, many of them, have been with us for years and it is their support that makes what we do possible. One of our goals for this year is to bring the CSA members closer to the farm by getting involved in work projects, cook-outs, bonfires, local political issues, and social justice. With much love and respect, here’s to the New Year. John