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, 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, organic farm

Midsummer harvests

Hocus Pocus Week #1

Hocus Pocus members are getting shares of the farm’s bounty each week.

The three farms at Listening Tree Coop–The Lee family’s farm, Hocus Pocus CSA, and our homestead farm, are fecund-o-rama as we approach August. Roosters crow, bunnies burrow into the coolth of soil, and veggies pour into the kitchen for feast after feast.

The weeds call to us a little louder than the blog, but we just wanted to post a few pictures of the farms and feasts to keep you posted.

 

organic farm

Farmers to start CSA at Listening Tree!

We are thrilled to announce that Hocus Pocus Farm is starting up at Listening Tree Co-op! Three young people who worked this summer at Casey Farm are launching their own veggie farm as a CSA–Community Supported Agriculture–so you can subscribe to get a box of fresh, in-season veggies each week. Listening Tree and Hocus Pocus signed a three-year lease and the farmers have already planted a row of garlic and started building a hoop house.

Christmas tree buyers helped clear the land of the remaining trees and now they are good to go! Find out more at https://hocuspocusfarm.wordpress.com/

Sign up online at https://hocuspocusfarm.wordpress.com/about-2/csa/ and help them launch a new local, organic-methods farm for Rhode Island!

working on a carrot and the lease

local food & food justice, organic farm

Land (and community) seeks farmer or farm family

An intentional community in formation is looking for a compatible organic vegetable/livestock farmer to work approximately 4 acres of field located at 87 Reservoir Rd. in Chepachet, RI. The community is seeking members and in process of forming a housing co-operative. Co-op shares, for living and/or farming, will begin to be sold upon launch of the co-op, estimated to be in November. Early birds are welcome to help in the co-operative design.

Both living and farming space are currently for rent with the potential to purchase a residential and/or farming share in the cooperative after a trial period. The market farm trial period would be one year, with land tenure upon cooperative acceptance and share purchase. Right to farm the land would be for a designated portion of the currently arable land.

At least 6 acres of the 32-acre property had been cleared, plowed and planted with Christmas trees and pumpkins by the previous owner of 30 years. Some Christmas trees remain and we hope to sell those this winter, and cut or move most of the remainder, leaving some for permaculture guilds or shade groves and wind breaks, as appropriate. About 3-4 acres of the 6 acres had been farmed before 1980 as a berry and vegetable farm. The arable land has been previously plowed and mowed, and most large rocks have been removed. Soil test data from UMass from three sites is available and shows good soil. The garden that we put in this summer is flourishing.

A large irrigation pond has a working pump in a pumphouse and underground plumbing to three sites including the barn. It still has plenty of clear water as of August 13 this year.

Composted horse manure is on the land; adjacent farm is a source of more horse manure. Deer fencing is needed.

This is our first year of conversion to organic farming. Beyond the market farm, the coop members hope to develop permaculture perennial and forest gardens, large scale vermiculture, small animals.

Our estimate of housing share prices are currently $40,000 per adult. Farm share would be additional and is negotiable. In addition to the share purchase, coop members would pay a monthly fee (like a condo fee) for insurance, taxes, utilities, and short-term and long-term maintenance.

Rent-to-own scenarios, e.g. financing of share purchase, are also possible and currently in process of development.

Farm share would include right to farm the allotted land, right to use the tractor, barn, and some shared tools, build or retrofit needed outbuildings.

Email Karina Lutz at karinalutz@hotmail.com or call 401-497-5968 to arrange a meeting.