Live 'Better' in 2014

As 2013 draws to a close, many of you will be reflecting on the year that was and making some mental notes on what you'd like to do differently in 2014. At Better Farm, we think this is a great time for all of us to think about how we might like to live more sustainably and creatively—and what steps we need to take in order to get there.

Whether you'd like to start a compost bin at home, create a kitchen garden, work on that novel you've been brainstorming, take more photos, or find some other small (or large!) way to make a difference, consider us the wind at your back. We hope you'll incorporate this blog into your regular online visits for DIY ideas, commentary on environmental issues, and inspiration for craftsy projects and community outreach. If you want to take it a step further but don't have a schedule that allows for a long-term stay at Better Farm, consider sponsoring one of our rescue hens, making a tax-deductible donation to support the arts in the North Country, or visiting our online shop. We are also happy to offer gift certificates for you to send someone you love to Better Farm for a weekend or overnight stay sometime throughout the year (email for details!).

For those of you who do have a few weeks or months to spare over the summer or during winter breaks, consider one of these opportunities:

betterArts Residency
As published at New York Foundation for the Arts

betterArts offers a unique opportunity to artists, writers, performers, and musicians with a residency program based out of Better Farm, a 65-acre sustainability campus nestled in the foothills of the Adirondacks and the Thousand Islands Region.

Residencies are designed to offer artists of every discipline space and time to work on specific projects; whether a series of paintings, a composition, book, set of sculptures, or album.

Located 10 miles from the Canadian Border along the St. Lawrence River and Indian River Lakes System, Better Farm offers an unparalleled rural living experience. There are three lakes within walking distance; an on-site pond; vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens; shop space; open-air sheds for pottery and painting; and a two-story, renovated barn functioning as gallery and studio space. A private room, 24/7 access to a fully stocked communal kitchen, linens and towels, WiFi, parking, and round-the-clock access to the Art Barn are all included in a low stipend required of all residents.

The environment is simple and communal. betterArts residents are encouraged to interact and participate in the goings-on around the property, and to help out with chores and farm-related responsibilities between three and five hours each week. Students visit the farm year-round to study sustainability; so there are many collaborative opportunities available on a regular basis. Responsibilities may include working in the gardens, participating in arts-related community outreach projects, helping with house chores, cooking, construction projects, or assisting with other odd jobs. At the conclusion of each residency, an artist is required to present his or her work to the public in a gallery show, reading, performance, or via some other appropriate medium.
Residencies are for two weeks, three weeks, one month, or two-month periods. Basic facilities at Better Farm will be provided; but betterArts residents are expected  to provide the majority of materials and equipment they would need for the production of their work.  

The standards for admission are talent, desire to live and work at Better Farm, and a willingness to have a go at the Better Theory: a belief that each moment presents us with the opportunity for exponential personal growth.

Download the application at:

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Better Farm Sustainability Education Program
As posted at Good Food Jobs
Better Farm’s Sustainability Education Program offers a year-round immersive, introductory crash-course in sustainability initiatives. Individuals receive a hands-on education in a myriad of seasonal topics related to sustainability and environmental issues, including: organic small-scale farming and gardening; greenhouses and four-season farming; compost methods; alternative building and energy; rain and graywater collection; aquaponics/hydroponics; chicken care; community outreach initiatives (supper clubs, volunteer work at area farms, workshops, presence at local events); homesteading (organic cooking, canning/preserving, splitting wood); and outdoor survival.

Better Farm is nestled on a 65-acre property in the foothills of the Adirondacks and a mere 10 miles from the gorgeous Thousand Islands region along the St. Lawrence Seaway bordering Canada. The Indian River Lakes System surrounds Better Farm, with 11 lakes within close vicinity. The property boasts a small fruit orchard, organic vegetable and herb gardens, a pond, forests and hillsides, a two-story Art Barn with gallery and studio space, an on-site library, and aquaponic and hydroponic indoor grow systems.

Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program runs in one- to three-month intervals. Students receive daily assignments and chores all related to sustainability initiatives and organic farming, as well as the opportunity to design and implement projects on their own. Upon completion of all units and responsibilities, participants will receive a certificate from Better Farm. College students may additionally receive course credit for completion of Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program (pursuant to agreement by that individual's school).

Individuals are immersed from day one in the local culture while working alongside other residents at Better Farm and in the Redwood community. Students are expected to do their share in maintaining the condition of Better Farm as well as its peaceful environment. Those accepted to Better Farm's Sustainability Education Program are expected to work seriously—and to conduct themselves in a manner that aids fellow residents in their endeavors.Many sustainability specialists visit Better Farm throughout the year to offer additional mentoring and guidance.

Additionally, individuals have the option of taking any workshops and participating in any excursions or field trips scheduled during their time at Better Farm.Students live on-site and communally on the Better Farm campus in shared rooms. A flat fee of $500/month is required to cover educational fees, supplies, lodging, field trips, wireless Internet, use of the laundry machine, all linens and towels, on-site parking, and use of the communal kitchen (stocked weekly with food). Download the application at:

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.