April 3, 2014 “Why do farmers farm, given their economic adversities on top of the many frustrations and difficulties normal to farming? And always the answer is: “Love. They must do it for love.” Farmers farm for the love of farming. They love to watch and nurture the growth of plants. They love to live in the presence of animals. They love to work outdoors. They love the weather, maybe even when it is making them miserable. “ – Wendell Berry
Hello Friends, Family, Past Clients, and Community Members,
This is an absolutely BIG and EXCITING request, but perhaps it will find you at the right moment in time! Seb and I have found the most beautiful farm where we want to spend the rest of our days growing great food and great community! The farm is 30 minutes drive from Guelph. Already it’s been Certified Organic, has greenhouses, orchards, a good barn, and cold storage. It comes with all the equipment, and the current farmer is willing to come out one day a week to mentor us on how to run his organic salad greens’ and produce business. It is perfect for us, and it is an absolutely gorgeous 83 acre piece of land.
We went last week for the first time and fell instantly in love with the land and the legacy that is being left by the previous owners.
We deeply feel it would be a tragedy to see this farm be developed, to see the infrastructure unused, or to see the land farmed non-organically. Somehow we have to quickly figure out if we can bring the money together to afford it before we lose the opportunity.
We are writing to see if you would consider giving Seb and I one of the following. (And in the letter below we have listed what we can offer YOU for each level of donation):
- the gift of a note of encouragement or a donation of 0-$99 dollars
- Or a gift of $100, $500, $1000, $5000, $10,000, or $20,000+
The farm costs $799,000 dollars and it has been farmed organically for 25 years. Compared to what else is on the market, this is a great price. We will be setting up a viable and efficient farm business, and will both work off-farm jobs when we can, but unfortunately land costs are so high in Southern Ontario that we need outside help from friends and family to help us cover at least one third of the cost.
Where your money will go: 100% will go to paying a part of the cost of buying the farm. The farm will be a place that grows amazing certified organic foods, that hosts school groups and retreats, that works for social and ecological justice, that invites the community with open arms… a place where we raise our children (and yours too) to love the earth, a place where many will get lost in the outdoors, splashing in the creek, eating dirty carrots, and laughing at mud-covered pigs!
We will endeavour to carry-on the legacy of land-stewardship that the previous owners were committed to and bring the farm even closer to its full potential and productivity.
What we can offer for our appreciation:
1. If you have anything between $0-99 to donate, this will encourage us greatly on this journey. Please send us an email “high-five” to email@example.com or a snail mail letter of encouragement to 44 Caledonia St. Guelph. N1G2C9. We will then add you to our farm contact list and also keep you informed of any deals, discounts, and trades that we are able to offer!
2. If you donate $100-$499 we will give you a voucher for 10% of your donation (up to $50) to spend on our produce. We will also do what is written in #1.
3. If you donate $500-$999 you can host a party or event for up to 30 people on the farm, and we will give you a 1-2 hour private farm tour. We also do what is written in #1 and give you a $50 voucher. (A limited number available)
4. If you donate $1000 we will offer you a 1-2 hour private farm tour and a five-year membership to our on-farm Family Campground (opening spring 2015) complete with outdoor showers, compost toilets, picnic tables, and the occasional surprise of me (Bethany) serenading you around the campfire with my guitar and homemade songs. You will be able to bring your family and friends to camp out whenever you like. If all goes well with the campground we will renew your membership for life! You will also get 2 invitations to our Farm Donor Appreciation Dinner featuring local and organic foods from the farm and area and a $50 voucher. (A limited number available)
5. If you donate $5000 we will give you all that is listed in #4, as well as 3 days of Yome rental per year for 5 years. The Yome (pictured above) is our beautiful off-Grid & winterized yurt-like structure, complete with oil-lamps, folding tables and chairs, a woodstove, a simple kitchen, a double bed in a loft, and more! You will also be able to access the campgrounds’ outdoor shower, compost toilet, picnic tables, fire-pit, and more! You could have a romantic getaway, a business meeting in the woods, a dinner party by oil-lamp, a family camp-out, a yoga class, a kids birthday party… Anything you like! (A limited number available.)
6. If you donate $10, 000 we will give you all that is listed in #4 and 5, as well as 12 days of Yome rental per year for 5 years (beginning in 2015) and a 10% Farm Discount card for Life! (A limited number available)
8. If you are able to donate more than $10,000 we will offer you all the perks of #7 and furthering that we would like to talk to you on the phone or in person about what else we can offer you ( trees planted in your honour, a special credit on our website, a song or poem written for you, a series of school educational tours, a custom raised pig, a farm-hosted music festival… The list goes on!) We want you to feel our sincere appreciation for your help! All those who support us on any level will have their name embroidered into a banner that we will hang in our family room to remind us every day of YOU and how great our community of support is!
How can we trust you with our money?
For the last few years our lives have been dedicated to farming, and crafting a farm dream. We met 4 years ago, and quickly realized our shared passion for organic farming and spending time outdoors. Shortly after we went to Fleming college to study Sustainable Agriculture. Following that we took a course in “Holistic Decision Management” for Farmers. We have completed internships at Ignatius Farm, The Stop Community Food Centre, and Green Being Farm. For two years we have run a farm business of our own, servicing up to 50 community members with weekly produce boxes and occasional meat deliveries. We also have a large number of farmer mentors on our side to help us succeed. We believe farms are highly important in bringing together rural and city communities to care for the earth.
Our CSA member Donna from last season said,
“I want you both to know how struck I am by the quality of your produce. It is simply the best looking produce I have ever encountered from a CSA. I have belonged to several over the years and have purchased organic produce directly from various farmers and retailers; yours stands head and shoulders above the rest…… it simply radiates with life and beauty. I’m thrilled!” Farming is what we can and would love to offer our Guelph and surrounding community!
Whose land is it anyways? We work and will work towards paying our respects on a daily basis to the traditional custodians of the land, the indigenous communities who had this land stolen from them. Though we will never be able to right the wrongs that have been done, we can endeavour to heal, learn, acknowledge, stay open, and grow through the work we do on this land, and with First Nations individuals and communities.
Thank you for considering helping us purchase this land, and we look forward to hearing from you! Beth and Seb Ps.
How do we get you the money?
- Not so fast! We can’t yet accept your money, but what we need is an email or letter or phone call in which you commit to funding us a certain amount. Please don’t make any promises you can’t keep! For those who are in the family/close friends, consider this our early wedding present, and the last time we ask you for money (in a big way:)). We are working on an asap timeline here, but take your time to talk to your family and consider passing on this message. We will be forever grateful!
Check out some pictures from our Farming Journey in the slide-show at the top, or browse this blog to find some stories from our farming journey.