Our Latest Projects and Community Outreach Efforts
What's Good at the Farm Stand
Featured Artists and Upcoming Events
Hello, Friends of Better Farm!
Summer is in full swing here at Better Farm, with a fresh group of workers and artists, tons of new ideas and projects, and a garden bursting at the seams.
Whether helping to clean up at the Redwood Historical Society, volunteering for the Redwood Neighborhood Association, breaking ground on public art installations, or holding art gallery receptions that are free and open to the public, we've embedded ourselves in the local culture of Redwood and beyond. Our stable of interns, farm volunteers, and artists have come from all over the world to participate in a great experiment of arts and sustainability education, creative expression, and community outreach—and it's paying off beyond our wildest dreams.
Thanks to all who came out in force for our annual open house and fundraiser back in May, and for those who continue showing their support through private donations, attendance at our gallery shows, and by helping us out on the grounds of Better Farm. We truly couldn't do it without you.
Please contact us to schedule a visit or tour or to find out how you can get involved. You can stay in touch on a daily basis by following our blog at blog.betterfarm.org or stopping over at our main site, www.betterfarm.org.
Executive Director and Co-Founder
--- Better Farm's Interns and Volunteers
From left to right: interns Natasha Pietila, Soon Kai Poh, Elizabeth Musoke, and Jaci Collins
Better Farm owes its gardens and day-to-day operations entirely to the cast of hard-working volunteers and interns who've been calling this little sustainability-center-that-could home. Interns Natasha Pietila, Jaci Collins, Soon Kai Poh, and Elizabeth Musoke have since June been running Better Farm's herb, vegetable, and fruit gardens, and greenhouse. The group has also taken care of green building projects, chemical-free pesticides, nurturing Better Farm's chickens, baking breads and delicious meals, community outreach projects, and even brewing and bottling beer and wine. Some quick bios on this adventurous, ambitious bunch:
Jaci Collins BS, sustainability, Arizona State University; Associate of Arts, Kent State University
Jaclyn is a fresh-faced graduate from Arizona State University's prestigious sustainability program. She's specifically interested in sustainable farming and ecosystems, and plans to earn a master's degree in agriculture from Oregon State University. Jaclyn's extensive research into food systems and subsequent environmental degradation, food insecurity, and obesity has fueled her efforts and interests in local food production, distribution, consumption, composting systems, and waste. Since being at Better Farm, she's become very interested in starting community gardens in cities.
Natasha is a 22-year-old student at University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Originally from the Bay Area, this California girl is interested in all things green and sustainable; including organic small-scale farming and gardening, general farm management, alternative building, rainwater catchment, community outreach, outdoor survival, and environmental public policy.
Carleton College student Soon Kai spent 22 months after high school in the Singapore military, 6 months working in a bakery, and volunteer farming in Singapore and Japan. Then he enrolled in a liberal arts college in the States, and, a few months later, got in touch with us. Talk about well-rounded!
For more information about Better Farm's sustainability internship program, click here.
Joining our interns in July are Sara Hawkins and Mollie Cross-Cole, volunteering at Better Farm through the WWOOF program (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). As you can imagine, having such a dynamic force running day-to-day goings-on at Better Farm means a lot is geting done. Which brings us to our next topic...
Latest Projects and Community Outreach Efforts
There's no time to be bored at Better Farm. Some of our latest projects undertaken by the crew here include:
Annual Open House & Fundraiser Better Farm's annual soiree was a hit this year. The event featured a big gallery showing in our newly renovated Art Barn, performances by several local bands, a group art project that will be installed in downtown Redwood this summer, a raffle, tours of the grounds, backyard cookout, and even some hula hooping, dancing, and a bonfire.
A Gate for Better Farm's Main Garden Interns Soon Kai Poh, Jaci Collins, Elizabeth Musoke, and Natasha Pietila joined forces with Better Farm's carpenter-extraordinaire in residence Mark Huyser to design and build a brand-new gate for our garden.
Rainwater Catchment System for Greenhouse Intern Elizabeth Musoke researched a rainwater harvesting system for Better Farm to implement at the greenhouse. Utilizing a simple gutter system, downspout, and reappropriated plastic barrels, she's put together a harvesting method that will provide plant seedlings plenty of fresh water.
DIY Projects The interns and WWOOFers have teamed up to put together an herb-drying rack for Better Farm's herbs, several new raised beds for plants and herbs, signage for the Art Barn and garden, homemade breads, and beer and wine.
--- What's Good at the Farm Stand
We're installing a permament farm stand at Better Farm next week! Here's a short list of what will be available for sale (contingent on seasonal ripeness and what we've got cooking!):
In the last weekwe've also been fortunate enough to have Marty Weishaar and Meredith Kooi join our ranks as artists-in-residence. We have several art openings and performance pieces scheduled throughout July, August, and September; check back on our blog for times and dates! All events held at Better Farm are free and open to the public.
To learn more about the betterArts residency program, click here.
We're in the fundraising stage for a few upcoming projects, namely:
Installing an exterior staircase to the second floor of the Art Barn
Constructing a small outbuilding out of straw bales
The construction of a small outbuilding specifically for Better Farm's interns
A betterArts project that would offer free music and art lessons with professional teachers to local individuals free of charge
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With the holiday shopping season upon us, consider supporting small farms and independent artisans this year. At www.betterfarm.org/shop, you can check out our undyed, organic alpaca yarns, scoop up some sweet reads, sponsor a rescued farm animal, pick up “Better” swag, or plan a visit for you or a loved one to Better Farm.
Initial solar consultation with @apexsolarpower is complete. Technical site visit next, followed by a finalized contract to get @betterfarm 100% solar-powered by 2018.
Introducing the magnificent Seaborn Beck Weathers, who made his grand entrance at Better Farm last Friday on a 17-degree day. Since then, Seaborn’s tolerated emergency care to raise his temperature, days spent bundled up with Mum in the betterArts gallery, and more thermometers and scales than anyone should have to. Yesterday he and Augusta got to go outside for the first time since Friday afternoon, and weathered the overnight temps just fine. This little survivor has earned his namesake! Welcome to the world, Seaborn!
Living wall installation, phase one.
Oh honey honey! Email email@example.com for ordering info while supplies last! 🐝
Vegan tamales featuring Better Farm-to-table ingredients fresh out of the garden. 👩🏻🌾👨🏻🌾
Camelids in the midst.
Better brewers at work 🍻
I got your back.
There is nothing finer than enjoying a freshly picked apple on a gorgeous, crisp autumn day.
Killer first garden harvest for sustainability student Adam Brooks!
Better Bees! The hive is healthy, happy — and prolific! Around 30,000 strong and counting, with a robust supply of honey to get them through the winter. #betterbee
Every year, Better Farm plants at least 100 trees on the property in order to improve soil and air quality, grow fruit, provide shade and nesting grounds for animals, control runoff and to replenish forests. Due to extreme winters, ice storms and other variables, we have a steady stock of standing-dead trees we can cut for heating the main farmhouse. Planting new trees ensures a steady supply of firewood in the future and expands our efforts in regenerative agriculture.
Here today, gone tomato.
Pigs have complex personalities with intellect levels similar to dogs and chimpanzees. They possess specific personality traits, are capable of following direction, and can suss out a person’s emotional state based on body language. Oh—and as you can see here, pigs are excellent at recognizing (and remembering!) their friends.