Sunday, April 19, 2009

This is my future...what do you think?

In our six-week agricultural business planning class, I've been hard at work trying to solidify and clarify my dreams and plans for the future into a compelling, articulate, and practical form (i.e. a business plan). Here's the business description. Does it make you want to come to the Open Hearth for a delicious, welcoming, joyful dinner of roasted asparagus, white bean soup with ramps, and a springy green salad? (You can tell it's the middle of April and I'm pining for the end of May...)

Good Folk Farm and Open Hearth is a small, inter-sufficient community farm and open kitchen that provides public meals several times a week for our local community. Our nourishing, seasonal meals feature our own farm-grown produce, milk and eggs, and meat, grains and dry beans from local farmers. We have no menu; meals are severed family style and change depending on the season. At the core of our philosophy is the promise that everyone will be welcomed to our table, regardless of ability to pay monetarily. We believe that sustainable economies are local, diverse, and support the needs of all community members. To that end, we accept a wide range of payment, including work trades, specific skills, money, goods and services, and volunteer time. We strive not only to provide real food and real nourishment for our community, but to instill a sense of wonder and gratitude in all who eat at our table and to reawaken each other to the importance of our connection to the natural world. Through the simple, meaningful daily practices of farming, cooking, and sharing meals, we act as a catalyst for community-driven social and environmental change.

The Open Hearth is community space. We are open Wednesday through Friday, 7-5, and weekends from 10-5. We serve family-style dinners and lunches three days a week, brunch on Saturdays, and host an open soup and bread potluck every Sunday afternoon. Between sit-down meals, the kitchen is open for self-serve seasonal food: fresh bread and baked goods, soup, salads, and sandwiches, hot beverages and of course, desserts. The Open Hearth is a great place to enjoy a cup of locally-grown peppermint tea and a carrot muffin, meet with friends (or meet new ones), enjoy the sunshine on the porch, or settle in with a book and a bowl of tomato soup. Throughout the year, we host a wide variety of events: skill workshops in anything from food preservation and home cheese-making to planning accessible gardens, dance parties, book groups, lectures and concerts, cooking classes, farm tours and community work days.

Our farm is located on ten beautiful acres, and the land is the center of everything we do. We grow and preserve 100% of the produce we serve in our kitchen, as well as enough to support the small community of adults who work at Good Folk. Though we are not certified, we farm using organic practices, without any chemical inputs. Our dairy cow and small herd of dairy goats provide us with all of our milk, homemade yogurt, and fresh cheese. We raise a small flock of grass-fed Icelandic sheep for meat and fiber, and keep laying hens, which happily follow our cows through the pasture. Our land supports a diverse range of wildlife, native and cultivated plants, perennial fruits, and domestic animals. We envision a dynamic farming system that is self-sustaining, reliant on our neighbor farmers, business-owners and craftspeople, and beneficial to our land and community. Year round, we do everything we can to rejuvenate, rather than wear down, our soil. From planting cover crops and making our own compost, to sustainably managing our woodlot, baking our own bread and sharing meals with anyone who chances by our farm, we are actively creating the kind of world in which we want to live.

1 comment:

John Sackton said...

wow. This is a very holistic vision. I think it sounds exciting. I would like to know more about the places that inspired you and what are the practical requirements to pull this off.