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Expanding organic farm in southern VA and needs help  RSS feed

 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 676
Location: south central VA 7B
82
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Basics:
we have 100 acres on a small forest river, about 10 - 12 acres are cleared, 1 acre pond and a frog pond going in this month. Established orchard with berries producing. Expanding another couple acres via perma for seasonal organic herbs & veggies.
We have a garden center/market in small nearby town where we also propogated organic veggie slips/starts
Husband is a blacksmith with working shop @ farm.
About 1 hour from Richmond, 1.5 from Raleigh NC
a scotch & cigar is how most nights are celebrated, watch TV occassionally and obviously have internet although via satellite.
We are in our 50s, kids grown & gone
3 dogs, 1 cat and chickens coming in spring
We need some help and are open to creative agreements & arrangements but not interested in a 2 week Wwoofer kind of arrangement. We have a couple lofts in our cabin & private bath although this will be family style living.
There's a pole barn that we'd love to help retro-fit to a cob home.
Several farmers markets within 15 - 40 minutes and plenty of dirt for a personal garden etc.

Really open to thoughs, interests, ideas and suggestions.
thanks!
M
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Jay C. White Cloud
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Curious, are you just looking for help or full time staffing? Are you profit sharing or looking for long term residents that will help grow the infrastructure? How do you plan to compensate for long term staff/intern/tennant workers, through fiscal compensation and/or land sharing? Are you going to stay private or establishing a 501C3? Do you plan to run educational programs or extension services to ag/votec/guild craft students? These are just some of the questions/considerations I was wondering about after reading you post. Looks like you are resource rich and labor poor. Blacksmith mentoring to some young folk could bring in some limited help in that area. Pole barn to cob sound like a place to consider a timber framing workshop to repurpose the building for you future infrastructure plan. Interns/students and work for room/board opens you to liability and a need for insurance upgrades.

Regards, Jay
 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 676
Location: south central VA 7B
82
bee books forest garden fungi solar trees
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Curious, are you just looking for help or full time staffing? Are you profit sharing or looking for long term residents that will help grow the infrastructure? How do you plan to compensate for long term staff/intern/tennant workers, through fiscal compensation and/or land sharing? Are you going to stay private or establishing a 501C3? Do you plan to run educational programs or extension services to ag/votec/guild craft students? These are just some of the questions/considerations I was wondering about after reading you post. Looks like you are resource rich and labor poor. Blacksmith mentoring to some young folk could bring in some limited help in that area. Pole barn to cob sound like a place to consider a timber framing workshop to repurpose the building for you future infrastructure plan. Interns/students and work for room/board opens you to liability and a need for insurance upgrades.

Regards, Jay


Jay,
Thanks - this is a new direction for us - there's a lot of possibilities and considerations..
Some I can answer - private not a 501C3. Yes on the educational programs as we are in communication with a local university for a summer program on perma. and have been working with the local extension office for a couple years now conducting educational classes at our nursery. Our farm is almost 2 miles off blacktop for the reason we like privacy so other than some occassional kids from the college for a few days, we will not open to the public. We are certainly land rich and labor poor and open to profit sharing for long term residents that will help grow the infrastructure as well as consider lobbing off some acreage once a good mutual working relationship is established. Interns/students/wwoofers although very attractive on several levels, their coming and going for short periods of time does not make sense as the time invested to be able to turn stuff over to them unsupervised would take the bulk of their time with us. We've spent the past 15 years clearing, building, planting etc and were finally at a point to leave urban living and move here full time 3 years ago. The farm is now at a point to responsibly expand and we can't do it alone.
thanks for all of you questions - please keep them coming.
M
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Marianne,

I will keep you in mind as I see/hear things that may be of use to you. Do you have the resources to sponsor workshops that could bring you free labor and additional income? Does that sound viable to you? Blacksmithing, timber framing, permi related, etc. Many homesteads like yours are sponsoring seasonal programs to supplement income and provide labor for infrastructure expansion, there by avoiding temp live in help. I teach and have started considering options with several public/private entities. Send me a private email so I can put you in my contact list. Land sharing sounds appealing. I hear of several losely connected groups the incorporate folks like you that share resources as a safety net for future possible social misfortunes. As I learn more I can share that too.

Regards, jay
 
Teresa Blakeslee
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Location: Sumter, SC
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Would you be interested in an older woman who is eager to learn and doesn't mind hard work? I am also interested in learning to build cob houses. I have not lived on a farm for too many years, but love to garden, can, make cheese, sew, weave, make soap. I can lay tile, use most power tools, drive almost anything with wheels. I recently separated from my husband and need a job and a place to live. Organic farming/permaculture is something I am passionate about, as well as solar/wind power, "living off the grid" and much, much more. Thank you!
 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 676
Location: south central VA 7B
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Morning Teresa,
We are currently full but may have room in early summer. Please touch base in May and I'll happily let you know the situation. Best of luck in your search.
Marianne
 
B. Linger
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Hello I am a college student in Williamsburg (originally from Richmond) and I am looking to get hands on experience this summer in sustainable (or preferably resilient) agriculture. I am available after exams (May 7) until June 29. I have experience with garden plots and a little urban farming. Myself and several other students have designed and are installing a perennial garden with a focus on native plants (but thankfully not exclusively native plants) this semester as well on campus (hopefully we can use it as a demo, spring board, and propagation source for more edible landscaping on campus.) If the period I am available for is too short term then I am sorry for bothering you. I decided I should mention myself because I am so close by. Alternatively if you want a pair of hands for a few labor intensive day projects I would certainly like to help. Also know that Teresa seems to have a greater need for this opportunity than I. Only consider me if arrangements with her fall through or if there is a gap when she is not available and I am. - Ben

Edited 3.27.2014 To clarify intent and priority.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
Posts: 676
Location: south central VA 7B
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hey Ben - so sorry to be long in getting back to you......ahh spring. We have a cottage for interns (2) which will be full during your summer break. That being said, I'd love for you to come hang out for a week-end and once we get on the other side of spring nuttiness I'll look @ project book and let you know some possible dates.
thank you so much for reaching out!
Marianne
 
James Brock
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I'd love to come work with you. I only have a couple of years of gardening experience but I learn quickly. I can do plenty of labor but have no land. Please let me know if there's any way I could come help.
 
Marianne Cicala
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Posts: 676
Location: south central VA 7B
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Some updates are overdue - my apologies! We now have a 2 bedroom grey water cottage for interns. Please p.m. me should you want to discuss opportunities.
Unfortunately, we're currently full, but will have at least 1 opening in July.
thanks so much~~
Marianne
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