Mary Claire Whelan

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Farming Status and Plans

Years actively farming:


Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

I have spent the past 7 summers working on farms across the US and in India, but have mostly worked in New England. 

While in school, I studied Ethnicity, Race, & Migration, and wrote my senior thesis on the global farmer peasant's movement, La Via Campesina. I believe that farmers are a crucial part of building a more just, more sustainable world, free of colonialism and white supremacy. I have felt for many years that I would like to be a part of that. Farmers have an important role to play as stewards of land and knowledge, and farms can serve as community hubs that bring people together and train them in community care, as Fannie Lou Hammer and others demonstrated during the civil rights movement. As a white farmer, it is important to acknowledge that most farming in the US is done on unceeded indigenous land and to integrate practices that unsettle colonialist structures into our farming practices. I think the best farmers can transform both environment and culture by joining their love of the earth and desire to feed their communities with a sustained anti-racism practice. 

I plan to work for 1-2 more years on farms with varied crops and methods to increase my knowledge and skills, while taking classes on hard skills such as carpentry, welding, and basic tractor maintenance during the winter months. During this time, I will continue to surround myself with fellow farmers who seek to cultivate a more just society and who can teach me about integrating justice work into my farming. Following this, I will seek a farm management postion, probably in the northeast. 

Eventually, I plan to run my own farm. My vision for this space continues to develop as I do, but it is important to me that a farm serve as a community space. I would like to eventually host retreats for activist groups and non-profits on the farm where they can reflect on their work, do visioning for the future, and enjoy the good food and beautiful location. It is important that farms be financially diverse in order to be resilient, so I plan to have value-added products and events as an integral part of the business plan. 

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Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Adirondack Region
    • Clinton
    • Essex
    • Franklin
    • Hamilton
    • Warren
  • Capital Area
    • Albany
    • Fulton
    • Montgomery
    • Rensselaer
    • Saratoga
    • Schenectady
    • Schoharie
    • Washington
  • Central
    • Chenango
    • Cortland
    • Herkimer
    • Madison
    • Oneida
    • Onondaga
    • Oswego
    • Otsego
  • Finger Lakes
    • Cayuga
    • Livingston
    • Monroe
    • Ontario
    • Seneca
    • Schuyler
    • Tompkins
    • Wayne
    • Yates
  • Hudson Valley
    • Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Dutchess
    • Greene
    • Orange
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
    • Sullivan
    • Ulster
    • Westchester

Desired acreage:

11-20, 21-50, 51-100

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Fruits, Ornamentals

Primary Livestock:


Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

Farm Management, For Lease, Partnership, For Sale, Other Tenure Agreement

Additional Information

Will this farmer's operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?


Experience & education:

On farm work experience, Farm internship/apprenticeship, Farmer training or workshop