Rachel Condry

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Farming Status and Plans

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

We are a family that recently sold our home in Oakland, CA and moved the Hudson Valley area to find a farm and establish a permaculture homestead and outreach center. We come into this life with a lot of applicable skills and knowledge but have an enormous amount to learn as well.  While we have minimal experience on an actual farm we are somewhat experienced gardeners and both have (or are working on) permaculture design certifications.   Our vision has a number of stages that we intend to develop further as we grow and learn.  The first step in establishing a homestead for our family and a few close friends is to create a permaculture plan for the property.  The specifics of this plan will be dependant upon the particulars of the property that we find but may include things like, herb and medicinal gardens, vegetable gardens, gluten free grain production and milling, greenhouse, livestock like goats, chicken, and possibly cows, and forest farming like mushrooms and/or maple syrup production.  We plan to work towards getting "off the grid" over time- using water from roof catchment, grey and black water systems, and active and passive solar for barns and living spaces. As we begin farming- we will focus on developing a web of businesses to provide for our family and community which use our various strengths and can help build resiliency into our business ventures.  Along the way, we will participate in various permaculture education programs that could help us plan and develop infrastructure with permaculture design values.  Over time we expect our community to grow, with each additional community member committing their unique skills and interests to our overall community plan and values.  In time, as our community and various businesses grow- we will begin to invest in more education and outreach programs. We envision everything from Deep Listening Retreats and permaculture retreats to summer camps for kids to agrotourism stays.  It may well be that our inner circle grows and we develp an intentional community along the way.  It may also be that we stick to education and have folks passing through for various lengths of stays to work or learn or rest depending on their needs and purpose. 

Description of marketing method:

I am a trained professional musician with experience in running my own business, grant writing and have worked extensively in office administration.  My wife has had a career as a graphic designer and has worked in marketing in silicon valley for a number of years.  Branding and marketing will be a big part of our business plan though we are still in early stages and do not have specific plans as of yet.

Does this farmer have a business plan?

In progress

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Adirondack Region
    • Clinton
    • Essex
    • Franklin
    • Hamilton
    • Warren
  • Capital Area
    • Albany
    • Fulton
    • Montgomery
    • Rensselaer
    • Saratoga
    • Schenectady
    • Schoharie
    • Washington
  • Hudson Valley
    • Columbia
    • Delaware
    • Dutchess
    • Greene
    • Orange
    • Putnam
    • Rockland
    • Sullivan
    • Ulster
    • Westchester

Desired acreage:

>100

Infrastructure required:

Onsite housing, Barns or other facilities for storage of equipment, livestock, and crops, Farm equipment, Water access, Fencing

Description of infrastructure:

Our hope would be to get off the grid as much as feasible using passive solar, solar and wind on site for our power needs and collecting as much of our water as possible from roof catchments systems. We are also learning more about grey and black water systems to process our own waste and safely use it for other purposes.  Existing barns and structures like farm store would be ideal, a dream infranstructure would include an industrial kitchen and a grist mill of some kind. Though we would be open to building these buildings as well.  I am not yet sure what farm equipment we will need as we intend to use as little gas/oil powered vehicles as possible.  We plan to farm fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, herbs and medicinal plants for our own use/consumption with any excesses supporting our visitors and any further excesses going to market in a other ways.  We hope to mill our own grains one day (I have celiac disease) and dream of creating a farm to table GF bakery similar to Chambelland in Paris.  I am unclear on how much fencing would be needed.  It depend on the property and how many animals we end up stewarding. 

Description of buildings required:

Housing- farm house and smaller cabins for longer term stays as well as camping facilities for short term stays.  Barns for livestock.  Farm store and/or larger building for educational gatherings. Green house.  We are expecting to use existing buildings and to design and build other housing, greenhouses etc. 

Description of farm equipment required:

WIth our commitment to permaculture we would pursue no till methods and would like to minimize our use of oil and gas vehicles and the like.  However we are accepting of the need both for technology and some kinds larger equipment that would assist us in land management.  What exactly those things would be, we are not well enough educated to know.  We would definitely be open to some equipment that could assist in land management, including dispersing compost and compost teas or for shaping land and light construction.  

Description of water access required:

We plan to install water catchment systems on any buildings for a variety of uses but would also like to have access to well water or springs.  We would also like to have a pond and willing to make one if not already in existence. 

Description of fencing required:

Surely we will need some fencing for animals.  This is another subject that we have a lot to learn about.   We intend to rotate all animals throughout the property.  

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Other Crops

Primary Livestock:

Cattle - Dairy, Goats/Sheep, Poultry, Other livestock

Description of livestock/crops:

We have a lot to learn about livestock.  We definitely intend to include animals in our farm design plans.  Particularly chickens and goats.  One of our inner circle friends is already working with goats in CA in preparation for joining us in the next year or two.  We also have a desire to make cheeses and would be open to learning more about raising dairy cattle but we admit to no very little about it yet.  

Farmland Tenure

Tenure options desired:

For Sale

Description of tenure options desired:

We have some capital to invest and are looking to use a mixture of our own funds, grants and loans to make our visions a reality. Because of our relative inexperience, we also expect to hire help from those who are more experienced.  We would also be open to a lease or other tenure agreement that would help our transition into successful land managers and farmers. 

 

Additional Information

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

Yes

Experience description:

I am a musician who has been running my own businesses as a freelance musician, educator and composer for many years.  I have experience with grant writing (though I don't love) that will likely be applicable and I have been gardening organically in our back yard in Oakland for many years.  I have also held many adminitrative jobs, including as a manager and understand more than the average person about business and finance, though I could always know more and every market is different.  My wife has a background in graphic design, marketing and operations management and has had farms in her family for may generations.  She is particularly handy and has an engineers mind though she never got the formal training. Members of our inner circle have their own strengths and knowledge to bring but for now we are focusing on this first step as a family unit.