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New Mercies Farm is on Sabbatical

Posted 2/7/2015 5:55am by Rod Hornbake.

New Mercies Farm will take a Sabbitical this growing season.

We plan to return to full production in 2016.

We remain committed to farming as a social enterprise with 3 goals

  1. To preserve farmland
  2. To provide the community with locally grown, wholesome food
  3. To provide opportunities for younger organic farmers to build a farm business without having to own land

2015 is our 4th year of pursuing these goals and much has been accomplished.  The land has been redeemed from the threat of real estate development.  The land has been improved and infrastructure built for a sustainable farm enterprise.  Vegetables have been produced with the expected flavor and nutrient density.  We have achieved USDA Certification as an Organic Farm.

2015 should have been the year that we made the transition from an employed farmer model to a leasehold arrangement with the farmer.  Unfortunately we were not able to develop a credible and mutually satisfactory business plan to achieve farmer independence.

So during the 2015 growing season we will focus on improving the land by planting a cover crop of nitrogen-fixing legumes.  We will also focus on finding the next farmer with a skill set and experience better matched to long term sustainable farming.  To that end we have retained the services of Kathy Ruhf of Land for Good (www.landforgood.org).  Kathy is a consultant with long experience in farm transitions and preservation.  She will assist us in developing a sustainable model that combines independence and support for the farmer.  She will also assist us in the search for a new farmer.  Kathy will also provide us with assistance in our longer term goal of transitioning ownership of the farm and/or development rights to an appropriate not-for-profit entity.

We apologize to those who hoped for a CSA share this year or looked forward to our produce at the Lyme Farmers Market or enjoyed our heirloom tomatoes on the menu at Al Forno Restaurant. We hope to see you in 2016.

We wish our friend, lover of the earth and fellow farmer Michael Melillo the very best in his next endeavor.

Please feel free to call or email with any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

 

Rod and Debby Hornbake

New Mercies Farm

hornbake@comcast.net

860-526-4307