organic farm

Farmland Available: Listening Tree Cooperative

 

[Sept. 6 update]

Sadly, our (awesome) tenant farmers are moving to another farming co-op closer to where they live, but happily, land will be freed up for next season (2019), so a market farmer who wants to live and farm here has an opening to join the community.

Ultimately, we hope the market farmers would live here and be part of the community. But other options are available. Farmers could:

  • lease some or all of the 3 1/2 acres already cultivated,
  • lease to own (as described below),
  • live here or commute,
  • grow annual vegetables or herbs, raise animals, or develop a food forest/perennial crops.

Listening Tree Cooperative, is an intentional community in Chepachet, Rhode Island, living in a shared household and growing much of our own food, but with extra farmland and forest beyond what we need for our own homestead. Formed in 2015, the community occupies 33 acres of field and woodland, one main house and several winterized cabins. We are located about 22 miles on a RIPTA bus line from Providence, RI, and 30 minutes driving from Worcester, MA.

The co-op’s owner-members will own the land and structures by each purchasing a $42,000 share of the cooperative, with designated acreage for farm businesses owned and run by individual members or partnerships. Like a mortgage, the $42,000 share may be paid over years, with a $5000 down payment. Member-residents (renters or people who are in the 6-month trial period to buy in) pay rent and live together with owner-members and seasonal volunteers. Besides the share purchase, member-owners also pay monthly fees, like condo fees, that split the costs of owning and maintaining property, such as taxes, insurance, maintenance, and improvements. Purchasing a farming share would give a farmer the secure right to farm the land as a private business without having to purchase the land itself.

Listening Tree Co-op strives to live sustainably/regeneratively,  using the principles of permaculture and equality. Daily life at Listening Tree includes shared dinners and community work hours in the household, garden, woods, and/or food forest. Members might be found building out the farm infrastructure; pasturing chickens; hosting workshops; conversing around the fire pit; or taking care of the barn cat, Sir Toupee George.

Co-op members enjoy working on personal projects like a medicinal herb garden, a small commercial worm composting project, and market farming. Other land-based cottage industries are welcome. Most residents have jobs outside of the community as well. Currently, the cooperative is made up of 3 owner-members and 2 resident-members, and is structured to house 10 members.

What we are looking for:

We would most prefer resident farmer(s) who will live at the community and farm some of the cleared acreage. Farmers will have the opportunity to become owner-members of Listening Tree Co-op if they so desire. Otherwise, the farmer will be a resident-member. In either case, the farmer will have the freedom to run their farm business as a private enterprise. Listening Tree Co-op will not play any role in the work or business aspects of the farm, other than to ensure it complies with the written agreements on facilities/tool sharing, insurance requirements, and organic methods or an agreed-upon equivalent.

One way to look at this is as a “rent to own” situation. The new farmer would not buy-in to the co-op the first season, but if all goes well for everyone, owner-membership would be an option the second season.

Infrastructure:

Housing is available either in a small insulated cabin with electricity, internet, heat, and an outhouse; or in a bedroom in the main house where the bathrooms and kitchen are located. All members share the main house kitchen, bathrooms, living spaces, basement, etc.

The available farm fields are up to 3½ acres. Soil tests dating back 3 years are available. Approximately 2 of the 3½ acres have been used as a biointensive no-till organic vegetable farm for 3 years, and the other 1.5 acres have been used in conventional tillage organic vegetable farming.

The farmer will have access to:

  • irrigation from an on-field hydrant, supplied by a rain-fed irrigation pond with pump;
  • a 27HP Kubota tractor with bucket, York rake, moldboard plow, grader, deck mower, post hole digger, and harrow;
  • large storage shed;
  • gravel road to the field;
  • electricity at the field;
  • wash station with stainless steel sinks and well water;
  • workshop with woodworking tools;
  • garage bay;
  • barn attic with hayloft doors;
  • basement storage;
  • 8×12 walk-in cooler;
  • hoops for hoop houses;
  • worm castings;
  • leaves from the town transfer station for mulch and compost.

These resources are managed by community members and farmers, according to consensus-developed written agreements. Tractor maintenance is shared on a tracked schedule.

We are currently seeking 5 new members. Not all need to be market farmers. Come meet us! We’ll be having open house/potlucks and tours Sept. 29 and Oct 6 at 4 pm. Or come earlier by appointment.

Please contact us if you are interested at (401)710-9784.

Additional information about the community can be found on this website and at www.ic.org/directory/listening-tree-cooperative.

 

 

organic farm

Raised bed growing workshop

Join us as we learn how to develop raised field beds. At Hocus Pocus Farm, raised field beds were developed for preventing water runoff and disease transmission. Learn how to develop a raised bed by adding amendments, nutrients and compost and learn how to turn over the beds once a crop is ready to be harvested for the season. Soil health and fertility will also be discussed.

Hocus Pocus is a small, chemical free farm located in Chepachet that is run by Courtney Sartini and Sophie Holoway. Hocus Pocus runs a local farm CSA and also sells their crops, seedlings and flowers directly to nearby restaurants and retail establishments. Both Courtney and Sophie bring a dedication of food access and sovereignty to the farm and are committed to providing the local community with a wide variety of high quality vegetables, flowers, culinary herbs, and seedlings.

This is a free event. Registration is encouraged but not required. Last minute attendees are welcome! Check nofari.org for any updates. Photographs may be taken at this event for NOFA RI promotional material. This event is sponsored by RI DEM via a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and co-sponsored by Listening Tree Co-op as the host of Hocus Pocus while they’ve been starting up their farm.

 

Events @ Listening Tree

Eating weeds (it’s not what you think)

Brett harvesting wild lettuce

Wild foods chef Brett Mayette will come back to Listening Tree this summer to show how to ethically wildcraft and cook the abundant wild foods to be found in our gardens. Join us to learn how to harvest before you weed and how to prepare those delicious weeds for dinner.

Brett is an amazing chef, and his favorite ingredients are of the wild and freshly foraged variety. Conscious Cuisine, based in Rhode Island, is Brett’s “evolutionary nutrition” company and its focus is to help people develop diversity in their diets and enjoy wild foods for better health.

Brett will be taking us on a walk through the fields and forests here at Listening Tree, and he will help us identify the nutritious plants, teach us about them, and show us how to harvest them. Then we will all gather as he prepares a meal for us- using the plants we just harvested.

Class will start at noon, and including our walk, plant harvest and meal, will wrap up at 3pm.

It will be a fun and informative class, with a delicious meal, and your own harvest to bring home for only $20. Hope you can join us. Registration is now open here.

deep ecology, Events @ Listening Tree

Workshop: “The Work that Reconnects”

SAM_1020.JPG

Burnout. Turn off. News fast. Verge of despair.

We hear these words or themes so often these days. In the early days of the women’s march, creativity burgeoned, people who’d never taken to the streets got active, and fear motivated many to ramp up our efforts to protect Muslims, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQIA folk, the environment, in short, ourselves.

People thought it couldn’t get any more outrageous. But outrage was the thing. Otherwise, you weren’t paying attention.

Then the corollary: I can’t be more outraged, or outraged all the time, so I’m not going to pay attention. Syncing perfectly with the shock doctrine approach to burning out the populace, to misdirecting with misinformation and deflection. But we can see through that, and revive our work for justice and peace.

Jim and Karina of SpiralEcology and two of the co-founders of Listening Tree have been offering the Work that Reconnects workshops as an antidote for burnout, despair, numbness, and generalized hopelessness for six or so years now, and offer on this Saturday, 9:30-4:30 @ Listening Tree. More info here and here, and registration here or by calling (401)710-9784. Cost is $50 but scholarships available.

We’ll have a potluck afterward, around 5, with a tour of Listening Tree Cooperative. Anyone can come to one or both, just let us know. RSVP for the potluck only by calling (401)710-9784.

Events @ Listening Tree

Anti-ableism in Daily Life

wheelchair ramped up

Sunday, February 25, 2018 3-5 PM      @ Listening Tree

Learn about structural oppression of disabled folks and how we each can counter this through our language, thoughts, and behaviors, including evaluating our own needs and capacities for care. Anti-ableism topics include types of ableism, addressing our discomforts, ask vs. guess culture, de-stigmatizing help, mobility device etiquette, and other topics as folks request.This workshop will include journaling, discussion, and original content, and optional video.

The presenters:

Verge (xe/xir/xirs or he/him/his): a queer, trans, disabled, neurodivergent, HoH (hard of hearing), working-class artist & activist who is passionate about improving xirself, our communities, and our planet. Xe believes we are all still learning and welcomes respectful feedback, and is happy to offer additional resources whenever possible.

James (xe/xir/xirs or they/them/theirs): a gender non-binary activist currently studying to become an American Sign Language interpreter, a language in which xe is conversationally fluent. Xir past work includes web accessibility engineering and public health programming. James currently works part-time as a home health aide for Verge, and ’round the clock on trying to make the world a better place. Xe believes in using whatever tools we have, wherever we are, on working for peace and justice.


FREE but please RSVP to 401-710-9784

 

Events @ Listening Tree, organic farm, transition

Composting with worms for soil healing

A new event @ Listening Tree, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 11 AM – 1 PM

Bow shed in the snow One of our founding associate members, Ben Goldberg built a bow shed on site for a farm-scale vermiculture project. Our soil was laced with Round-Up for decades before we bought the property, and in places it was as dead as a rock, only hosting lichens and mosses and early successional plants. The soil needs the amazing microbiological boost only worm castings can bring. So with Conor Lally, Ben launched our first social enterprise beyond the farms. The bow shed is a passive solar, wind-compatible design with plenty of room for commercial-scale worm bins. Now’s your chance to learn from Ben about his squirmy permie wormies.

Composting with worms is practical, easy, educational, and fun. Red wiggler worms efficiently convert food scraps into a dynamic soil amendment, a nutrient- and organism-rich compost. On top of that, worm ecosystems provide a remarkable glimpse into the natural world.

This workshop will cover various worm bin designs, worm ecology, care and feeding, and separating the castings for use. This will be an interactive workshop, to be held on site at Listening Tree’s vermiculture operation.

inside vermiculture shed

The presenter:

Ben Goldberg has been keeping worms and making worm bins since 1995. He has presented workshops on worm bin ecology and composting for schools, agricultural conferences, and community groups. Ben holds degrees in both Environmental Education and Ecology from College of the Atlantic and The Audubon Expedition Institute.

Ben will teach us and entertain us all at the same time! You will certainly leave with hands-on knowledge of worm farming, as well as a new appreciation for the little things in life.

Donation: $10. Please RSVP to 401-710-9784.

 


Community life, permaculture

Two years, one season, and one moon…

first entire meal of Listening Tree food

A permaculture consultant, Carter Tracy, came by and walked with us: taught us to walk the perimeter with soft eyes, to observe for the first year before doing anything.

As much as I love and prefer being, not doing—well let’s just say I failed that first assignment.

We had seen a buck stand and look at us, the first night we were here, from right in the middle of the kitchen garden we were about to plant. It was almost as if he said, I heard you folks are planting a garden here! Cool!

If we’d observed that observation, we might have thought, okay, so let’s build a fence, then plant the garden. It was June 12th already, though, and we were very excited to finally be landing on our earth.

Two years, one season, and one moon later, the days are getting shorter, the garden is in its profligate decline, and the lengthening nights are ripening for storytelling.

-Karina

Oct. 10,  2017