Phase 1: Farming our Land & Donating Food
Achieved & Ongoing
In our first two years, we established two small farms in Newtown, CT. With rudimentary tools, dedicated volunteers, and kind landowners, we restored the Sticks & Stones Vegetable Garden to full capacity, and began a wonderful relationship with the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, managing their beautiful, newly installed raised bed gardens. The pristine organic soil in these locations has never been touched with chemicals or unnatural fertilizers allowing us to grow the healthiest, most nutrient-dense food possible using regenerative farming practices. We repaired and added fencing, built a hoop house to extend our growing season, built two farm stands, and began adding irrigation.
By the end of our second year we had five Food Pantries on our regular donation roster, and established relationships with five local farms who added their surplus produce to our donation harvests. In total, we donated over 10,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Phase 2: Expanding our Reach
We have now proven that with some land, a small group of dedicated volunteers, and support from the community, we have the ability supply high quality food to people in need. Our next step is to continue strengthening our farming capacity, expand our reach, and educate our friends and neighbors about the tremendous benefits of a strong, well-functioning local food system.
In this phase, our projects include:
- Increasing our farming capacity by adding machinery, irrigation, and a solar powered greenhouse.
- Adding refrigeration and vehicles, thus increasing our ability to store, transport and donate more fresh food.
- Adding a powerful educational outreach program, both on our website and on the farm. We are producing articles, webinars, and a series of videos that highlight why local agriculture is important, and that demonstrate the basics of growing and preparing your own healthy food. We will invite special guests from local farms, restaurants, and agencies to help spread the message and encourage engagement in a local food system that benefits all of us.
- Establish relationships with more local farmers and other folks in the food supply chain, as well as good-hearted neighbors and businesses who care about creating a strong local food system that feeds everyone.
Phase 3: Home Base Farm & Food Hub
We are actively seeking a 40- to 70-acre piece of property to be the home of our flagship regenerative farm and regional food hub. We will farm the land, host a marketplace and culinary kitchen, and serve fresh, nutrition-dense meals. Education, resources, and community-building volunteer opportunities will be available to all who wish to participate.
The production farm will immediately add to the regional food supply. With a blank landscape, we will combine regenerative farming techniques with the best modern technology while maintaining harmony with nature. We will dedicate a portion of our farm to a center for Ag-Tech production, using energy-efficient methods to supplement our field crops. The farm will house a full scale, high-tech composting system to optimize food scrap collections, both on the farm and from area businesses and residents, repurpose for soil fertility, and generate revenue.
The farm will also serve as a dynamic education and extension center. We believe that young and aspiring farmers must believe in agriculture as a career path again. Therefore, we plan to dedicate approximately 20% of our land to farm and business incubation for 5-10 new farmers, providing opportunities for aspiring farmers to develop the skills before opening their own farms. Incubation farms are proven to increase the success of new farmers and we will use our land to support that model.
The food hub will be a year-round marketplace and restaurant highlighting all of the area’s local farms, and will provide the framework for a local food delivery system. It will generate revenue and streamline systems for producers all while getting more healthy food on consumers’ plates. Here we will run a year-round market and restaurant, putting on an absolute celebration of the region’s bounty. It will be a destination to bring the family and experience all the best that local food delivers. Our network of local farms would readily provide the supply for a local online delivery service for our region, bringing farmers market favorites to people’s doorstep. In addition, we would dedicate space for food business incubation in our culinary kitchens, providing affordable opportunities for aspiring chefs and entrepreneurs
Phase 4: Expand Our Food Hub Model Throughout the State
The long-term goal is to identify and implement the practices we develop into other regions across the state, the country, and the world. Each region may have different environments, available land, populations, tastes, and preferences, but the system of empowering a region through grassroots localized efforts can be duplicated anywhere. We will look to franchise our assessment process while identifying regional centers that would be good hosts for extended partners.