Last Memorial Day I (and some of you!) had the priviledge of traveling up to Redwood, NY with my good friend Nicole to her Uncle Steve’s farm/ex-commune/spiritual retreat. It was a carefree weekend of bbqing, boating, lazing and, at least for me, first getting to kiss up on Butch…but the best part was meeting Uncle Steve who was one of the most inspiring, and interesting, people I have ever met!
In the 60’s, and only a few months out of Columbia, Steve was involved in a paralyzing car accident. His needs for alternative treatment and a spiritual retreat led to his purchase of the enormous farmhouse (and sprawling acreage) for him and his friends to live at communally. Long story short, the commune saw many changes over the years, and lately Steve had been nostalgic for a revival of the commune spirit of his past, as well as showing an interest in “greening” the property for the future.
Sadly, Steve passed away last month due to complications with pneumonia. He entrusted the farm to Nicole, who has thrown herself headlong into reviving Uncle Steve’s Better Farm through his Better Theory: A firm belief that every experience—bad, good, or otherwise—presents each of us with an opportunity for personal growth. I am honored that Nicole has included me in her “board of directors” (so important-sounding!), and I hope that my family and friends, and anyone else who reads my tiny blog, will stay updated on our progress via www.betterfarm.org and http://blog.betterfarm.org. To sign up for the mailing list or if you’re interested in donating, just contact us.
Our plans to start are to add as many green revisions as possible (including installation of geothermal), update the premises to create a workable environment for various future retreats, and get a greenhouse/permaculture situation underway for added sustainability. We are also hoping to include the community through a CSA and other forms of involvement. The website will give you more of a background on the farm as well as how you can help us move forward. We already have a Cafe Press shop with merchandise to buy (logo designed by yours truly!). The blog should also bring some amusement as it is documenting our hands-on renovations.
I’m excited to utilize my (ever-growing) horticulture/permaculture skills, those pesky old design skills, and my unique childhood experience of chicken coops and compost piles (thanks Mom and Daddio)!