We feel that this farm (160 acres—approximately half of which is in natural forest) has the potential to support more than one family.
Why a co-operative farm?
We have a love and understanding of this farm that has come from living, dreaming, and working on this land for the last 45 years. We would dearly love to see other people be able to carry on farming at Wildwood and produce healthy, nutritious products for their families and their customers.
Perhaps, to see a small, diverse farm thrive, it should be stewarded by a small group of diverse farmers.
Farm succession can happen in many ways, but ultimately, we would like to create a model for older farmers who wish to retire in place on their farms while providing an opportunity for new farmers to access land more affordably. We would also like this to be a model for people to work well together, and for experienced farmers to be able to share their knowledge and their skills, as well as their land, to promote healthy farms and vibrant communities for the future.
Many hands can accomplish so much more than one or two pairs can. Many hands and hearts working together can also make for very joyful work. We believe farming in community can alleviate feelings of disconnectedness, isolation, and the pattern that many farmers experience of being chronically busy, overworked, and over-stressed.
Opportunities at Wildwood
With more intensive management, there are endless opportunities for stacking enterprises on this farm. Livestock – particularly grazers – could be expanded to keep our pastures and hayfields healthy. Certain opportunities such as our market garden, apiary, and Bed and Breakfast business could be re-instated. On top of primary production, other options include value-added products, agro-education and tourism, opening a farm store, and many more; we are only limited by our creativity, imagination, and ambition.
What will the Co-operative Farm at Wildwood look like?
A completely reasonable question, and also the most daunting for us. There are models of community farms, eco-villages, collectives, and co-operatives that continue to be successful, as defined by those living and working within them. There are also countless examples of calamitous failures, which we want to ensure we do not replicate. We are moving towards incorporating as a worker’s co-op.
What our community farm will look like will largely depend on who arrives here, and who chooses to invest here. Vague as this sounds, we are dedicating immense thought and time into creating the skeleton of our farm community. This isn’t simply a “Let’s just invite people here and see what happens” kind of project.
Our community will go through goal-setting practices to ensure we have alignment for the vision of the community and of the farm that our behaviors and systems will direct us toward. The life we have lived here, and continue to live here, has been one that enacts the following belief:
This land is our source of holistic nourishment, of balance between cultivated abundance and wild abundance, and of hope for the future of creative human expression through regenerative farming and community cooperation.
We are in the process of deciding what the legal and financial structures of this community will look like, but many of the details will be decided collaboratively among the community members.
Though a work in progress, we must start somewhere.
So we begin with an invitation, a call to see who is out there that feels curious and compelled to build common values into an alternative social and farming structure. If this sounds like something you would like to try with us, please apply for our residency. We would very much like to meet you.
~The Farmers of Wildwood