In early 2017, Northeast Farm Access (NEFA) entered into a contract to purchase Hank Kenney’s Maple Homestead Farm in Marlborough, New Hampshire, closing in summer 2017.
Maple Homestead Farm is one of a few remaining working farms in the Monadnock region, where land pricing makes it hard for farmers to purchase a “mid-scale farm” with so much acreage. We want to make it a forever farm, like the ones we have established at our three agricultural centers in New York’s Hudson Valley.
NEFA is setting up the multi-member Monadnock Agricultural Center LLC, replicating and adapting the successful legal, financial and social model we developed and implemented at Copake, Chester and Esopus. We’re holding individual meetings meantime for those wishing to learn more; the new center’s first open house was held May 27, 2017.
The Monadnock Center Vision
We envision the Monadnock center as exceptionally diverse:
NEFA is working with social innovator and entrepreneur Dr. Claudia Ford and her partners for the newly formed Tisané initiative to lease the main Maple Homestead farmhouse, upper fields and woods and barns. On the lower fields, we plan limited development—several small green-design houses around a restorative agricultural landscape. Bridging the two farm areas: diversified farming, a center for our agroecology work where we can leverage learning from all our properties and share that research with the wider organic community, and Tisané’s herb and food farming, plus artist farm stays.
Ongoing revenue will continue to be derived from the current hay, maple sugaring and livestock operations, while the core farm begins the transition to organic and biodynamic practices.
Farther ahead: Tisané’s 2018 plans include producing, blending, packing and shipping herbs commonly used for medicines and teas, and establishing a tea room. They will also grow vegetables, poultry, small fruits and develop beekeeping.
Those wishing to learn more about NEFA’s plans for the future Monadnock Agricultural Center can contact Bob Bernstein at (603) 209-2000 or email bob [at] nefarmaccess [dot] com.