Spring 2013 Newsletter

• Save the Date: Annual Alumni Weekend, Open House, and Fundraiser Set for May 25

• Rundown of Recent Events

• Seeking Instructors for Summer Programming

• Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

Hello, Friends of Better Farm!

The groundhog blew it this year. So much for the early Spring we were all hoping for! The season may be buried under several inches of snow right now, but we're determined to find it in the coming weeks. BetterArts has already started the season off right by partnering with the North Country Goes Green Irish Festival last weekend to help to raise money for various charities (more about that below). As we wait for the snow outside to melt, we're busy setting up programming for the Spring and Summer—and as we continue to expand and grow, so do the projects! To meet the growing demand for fresh organic produce, quality programming, and creative and cultural events in the North Country, we're busy as ever preparing for our best season yet.

Our seeds have arrived amidst all this wintry weather, and we've been overwhelmed by applicants for the betterArts Residency Program and Better Farm Sustainability Education Program. Our volunteer roster sheet has exploded, as well—a good thing, since our gardens are doubling in size yet again, we're adding a fruit and nut orchard, and have several construction projects in our midst. This newsletter will cover the winter projects behind us, spring and summer projects ahead of us, all the information we've got regarding the big open house and fundraiser May 25, and ways you can get on board with all things Better.

If you're in the North Country this April 4, please consider stopping in at a lecture I'll be offering out of the North Country Arts Council Space in Watertown, called "Where Sustainability and Art Intersect." Click here to learn more and register.

Please contact us to schedule a visit or tour, swing through our open house and fundraiser May 25, or visit www.betterfarm.org to find out more about what we're doing.

Until next time, better be.

Nicole Caldwell
Executive Director and Co-Founder
Better Farm

Save the Date: Annual Alumni Weekend, Open House, and Fundraiser Saturday, May 25

Our annual betterArts fundraiser, Better Farm open house, and alumni weekend is scheduled from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 25, 2013, at Better Farm in Redwood, N.Y. This event will be in conjunction with the second annual Artists' Studio Tour. All money raised at the event will directly fund art- and sustainability-related community outreach initiatives in and around Redwood.

The day-long festival will feature live performances by local and regional bands, a gallery showcasing artwork by painters, sculptors, photographers, and more, booths featuring art and handmade items for sale, tours of the Better Farm campus, information about Better Farm and betterArts summer 2013 programming, arts 'n' crafts for kids (and adults!), freshly prepared food, a refreshments tent, and more! Overnight accommodations are available as follows: 
  • Camping (porta potties available) $10/night/person 
  • Bunk in shared room $20/night/person 
  • Private room $42/night
Vacancy is limited, so please reserve your spot early by e-mailing info@betterfarm.org. We are offering accommodations Friday through Monday, or any night therein. We are currently seeking vendors, volunteers, artists, performers, and sponsors for this event. If you are interested in partnering with us for any of the following opportunities, please e-mail info@betterarts.org:
  • VENDORS: We are looking for vendors who would like to set up a table at this event for informational purposes or to sell goods. A one-day vendor's pass is $15.
  • VOLUNTEERS: We need people's help setting up, breaking down, running the refreshments tent, cooking, working in the gallery, and more.
  • ARTISTS: Individuals who would like to put their artwork up in the gallery for sale are encouraged to contact us for the appropriate paperwork. There is no fee to hang your pieces, but betterArts does reserve the right to a 15-percent commission on all sold art.
  • PERFORMERS: Bands, singer-songwriters, storytellers, and other performers are invited to participate in the festivities. We have a small stage in the Art Barn's gallery space and a larger outdoor stage on the second-floor deck overlooking a natural amphitheater.
  • SPONSORS: Sponsors will have their names or business logos included in all press materials and prominently displayed at the event. Sponsorship levels begin at $50.
Better Farm is located at 31060 Cottage Hill Road, Redwood NY, 13679. For more information visit www.betterfarm.org.


Rundown of Recent Events

We've stayed busy this winter! Here's a quick recap of what we've been up to in the North Country:
Seeking Instructors for Summer Programming
Do you have a special skill you'd like to share? We're looking for instructors for everything from outdoor survival to bead-making. Whether it's the arts or gardening that you're an expert at, we'd love to hear from you! Arts instructors should visit www.betterarts.org/teach-for-us to download an instructor's form. Those interested in sustainability-related education, please email info@betterfarm.org for more information.


Upcoming Events and Volunteer Opportunities

We're just getting started on Spring projects, and we need your help! Peruse this list of upcoming volunteer opportunities and North Country events to see where you'd like to get involved. To get on board with any of these activities, please e-mail info@betterfarm.org.
  • Better Orchard — Better Farm is getting a small fruit and nut orchard this Spring! In addition to our Dwarf Reliance Peaches and apple trees already on the property, we will be planting almost two dozen more trees both inside and outside. The list includes: 3-in-1 citrus tree (indoors), Banana Plant (2 indoors), Brown Turkey Fig (2), Carpathian Walnut (2), Chandler Blueberries, Goji Berry, Kiwi Collection (2 females, 1 male), Manchurian Apricot (2), and Paw Paw Tree (3). The planting will happen in May (exact date determined by arrival of immature trees).
  • Lecture Set April 4BetterArts President Nicole Caldwell will present a lecture, "Where Sustainability and Art Intersect", at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the North Country Arts Council gallery space in Watertown's Public Square. The lecture is part of the arts council's "Lucky Seven Lecture Series", a seven-part installment featuring different takes on the arts. The lectures are slated for seven Thursdays at 7 p.m., costing $7 each. Caldwell's lecture will address the intersection between sustainability, art, and social responsibility. Sustainability issues are steeped in science and fact; but the science of sustainability also involves values-based questions, which may be best answered creatively. Caldwell will share examples of this intersection from several specific projects she has been involved with in her non-profit organization betterArts and and offer insights on how art can provoke people to consider their perceptions of sustainability.
  • Partnership with School Seedling Program Enters Second Year Better Farm is entering its second year of a partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation's School Seedling Program, which seeks to encourage young people to learn about the natural world and the value of trees in it. We will invite local youngsters this spring to join us for a morning of planting 50 white spruce seedlings on our property, our mission being to provide visitors to Better Farm with the knowledge of how beneficial trees are to the environment. Those interested in participating or volunteering can contact Better Farm.
  • Better Farm to Host International Students This Summer As part of its 2013 programming, Better Farm is partnering with Cultural Homestay International to host two college students from abroad on the Better Farm campus May through September while they work at Bonnie Castle in Alexandria Bay. Cultural Homestay International (CHI) is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1980 to promote international understanding and goodwill through people-to-people exchanges. The belief of CHI's founders was this: The best way to build bridges of friendship and trust among people is to experience directly each others' customs, languages and values. To live, study or work together leads to a transformational experience of acceptance and genuine affection. To that end, Better Farm will house two college students from May through Labor Day while they work in Alexandria Bay at Bonnie Castle. The students, who are studying hospitality overseas, will be part of the more than 250,000 students and young adults from over 100 countries who have participated in CHI's program in the last 30 years
  • Future Volunteer Opportunities — We have many projects coming up (dates to be determined) that we are seeking help with. Get in touch with us if any of the following interest you: hobbit house or earth ship construction, planting seeds in the greenhouse, readying the grounds and gardens, compost bin construction, chicken coop repair and construction, drip irrigation, rainwater catchment, sauna construction, exterior painting, basic carpentry/construction, sign creation.

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Contact Us:

Better Farm
31060 Cottage Hill Road
Redwood, NY 13679

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.