It is with great humility, and an ever-deepening awareness of the complexities and intersection of environmental justice, social justice and food sovereignty that I am announcing we secured the second of two mortgages need to purchase a farm in Pepperell, MA earlier this month. We will close on the property by January 21st. We are currently living on site with an occupancy permit while we wait for a few final strings to be tied up.
The story of this transaction begins in October 2018, but before I dive in, I just want to assure our dedicated customers that we will be continuing our CSA distribution at the Holliston Community Farm and Weston Nurseries, and will continue to attend the Ashland Farmers Market. We will spend roughly 50% less time in a car or truck traveling than we did this past year because of this new location. This is in part because our operations will all be at one site, and also due to the fact that we will live on site, and no longer need to commute (which, because of child-care, we always did separately).
We are so deeply grateful to you, our customers, for your support over the years, and we hope that you will choose to continue to support us as we grow into our new location, and lean into a more justice oriented mission. We plan to use our access to this property to create greater land access for other aspiring farmers, and to work more deliberately to provide affordable access to our produce, while maintaining a high product quality.
In terms of production, next year you will see:
  • The Winter Share will return! and be expanded to run through mid-March, with an every-other-week pick up and more greens grown in our expanded greenhouse infrastructure, which will also allow us to expand to
  • Year-round produce distribution in 2022, with an expanded Spring share, beginning in early April
  • More choice and variety in the CSA shares, as we now have ample land to grow on
  • Our Fall CSA will be extended to 12 weeks, and will be an EVERY week pickup
  • A winterized, FSMA compliant wash, pack and storage facility will enable our expansion to year-round production and also increase our efficiency the rest of the year
  • Seedling sales will continue, with a modified pre-order and in-person sales – be on the lookout for a survey in January.
  • Online ordering for the Ashland Farmer’s market will continue, with the additional option to order for pick up at our CSA distribution sites

  • We are using a new sales platform to streamline CSA sales and online ordering
  • We will make our CSA shares more accessible by offering:
  • Sliding scale pricing, allowing customers to pay what they can afford
  • Monthly payment options for CSA will be available through our new online store
  • Customers will be able to pay for CSA Shares with SNAP benefits
  • We will donate 10 shares to our hunger relief partners, and will work to raise funds to match this donation, donating at least 20 shares total

  • We will be certifying organic. We are still in the application process, and it’s possible that something might come up to delay certification, but the property has been managed without any prohibited substances for many years, and should easily qualify for certification
What about our other sites?
Our team back in the Holliston/Ashland/Bellingham/Franklin area will continue to grow on the land we managed last year, allowing them to start their own farm businesses. We hope to partner with them on many endeavors and will share details of their projects as they become available. For now, check out Night Owl Farm, which will be taking over our lease at Grateful Farm in Franklin this year.
That’s me from our first “drive by” of the property, standing on the edge of what will be the farm’s vegetable field in 2021. Our first attempt to purchase the property lasted roughly seven months and ended for a variety of reasons.
In December 2019, we reached out to Dirt Capital Partners, a “slow money” investment group working to help farmers access farmland in New England. Their guidance was essential in negotiations with the sellers and navigating the complexities of a joint mortgage with the FSA and the transfer of an APR (Agricultural Preservation Restriction) to new owners. They offered their services to negotiate and organize the purchase at no cost, reducing our risk in pursuing this complicated transaction. We would not have been able to make this happen without them.
It also would not have been possible without the immense dedication and leadership capabilities of our crew. We are so grateful to this team of people who worked so enthusiastically with us, masks and all, through a hot, difficult season. And to all crew members from the last four years - we could not have done it without you.
The list of community members, customers and friends and family who were all a part of making this possible is so very long, but we’d like to specially extend our gratitude....

• To the BOD and volunteers of the Ashland Farmers Market, the BOD of the Holliston Community Farm and Weston Nurseries for allowing us locations to distribute our produce
• To Tim Garboski and Darcy Valantine of Grateful Farm for giving us a home base this year and being better landlords than we could have imagined. They set an incredible example.
• To Cathy, Michelle and Denise for being enthusiastic work for share members for so many years, and to Bob, Jess, Linda and Shannon for the photos, recipes and distribution help
• To Jim and Gail T for so much help moving our equipment and our stuff all around over the years, for bailing us out in emergencies, storing our supplies, and for all the lumber and stakes
• To Pepe for your everlasting positivity and support
• To Norman for your support and enthusiasm for our farm since the beginning
• To Chris and Christy for partnering with me during my first season launching Upswing and you friendship and support
• To Carrie, Nancy and Nick and Jamie for providing child care in exchange for produce when Harvey was so very small
• To all our farming peers who lent their support, knowledge, equipment and more
• To Pat and Kathy for your incredible support for the last ten years
• To all of our Investment Share members who dove in and supported us after only one year of operation, signing up for three years of produce and making it possible for us to invest in equipment early on
• To all our customers who have been with us since the first few years – your regular support brings us great joy
• To all of our customers, CSA, farm stand and farmers market who buy our produce and flowers, tell their friends and bring their enthusiasm and support to the stand
• And of course to our neighbors, friends and family, whose support and encouragement has been essential to our success
We are so fortunate to be supported by such a wonderful community, and we look forward to continuing our relationships as the farm grows and thrives in its new location.
It must be noted that without our start in Holliston/Ashland on leased land that we lost (but were instrumental in protecting from development – we will take a touch of credit for that), we would not have been in a position to apply for a mortgage to purchase farmland. Almost NO traditional lenders will touch a farm loan (trust us we asked) and to secure a Farm Ownership Loan from the FSA (Farm Service Agency), you need three years of financial history in order to complete the application and at least one private lender willing to take on a partial mortgage. How is an aspiring farmer supposed to establish a financial history without access to land? This catch 22 is one of the many motivating factors that inspired us to continue pursuing this challenging property. With much more acreage than we need, we are deliberately working to provide no-cost access to the land for other aspiring farmers to gain initial traction.
We are a very rare and privileged exception to the reality that most people who want to farm and don’t already come from a farming family, or have access to substantial capital, cannot make it work. It is in everyone’s interest to collectively invest in new farmers/food producers, fair and affordable farm land access, and regional systems of food production that are accessible to all.
What is really needed is a complete change in the way we view land, food, the people who grow food and the people who eat food (everyone). Access to land and healthy food is a human right, and exploiting labor and resources to make food "really cheap" is not the answer. Like many of the systemic problems we face in modern society, the root causes of injustice in food production and distribution are embedded in colonialism, capitalism and racism/discrimination. We are grateful for the work of organizations like A Growing Culture and Green Dreamers Podcast for their work exposing systemic injustice and revealing the ways in which we, as white farmers with plenty of privilege, can do much more to promote structural change and cause less harm in the process.
We (Brittany and Kevin) are not going to change everything in an instant, but we can leverage the privilege that we have to promote and support other growers working to provide for their communities, and to continue to listen to and support the people most harmed by the current food system.

This year, thanks to your support, we were able to make modest financial contributions to several organizations working towards food justice, and meet our produce donation goal of 3000 pounds.

Organizations we supported financially:

Produce donations went to:

If you are considering one last year end donation, consider supporting one of these organizations. COVID-19 has affected everyone differently, some much more so than others. Supporting hunger relief in the short term, and systemic change that prevents poverty in the long term, are both essential investments in our community.

Thank you for being on this journey with us. We are so grateful to be taking this next step with you by our side. Stay warm and be well.

Brittany and Kevin

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