Greetings Friends and Neighbors,
Sunday morning, a group of grinning neighbors gathered to shepherd the ewes and lambs across the Brush Brook Bridge and onto brilliant green grass, enacting an ancient Springtime ritual. Last Friday, the Bread Stand saw many smiles and much good cheer, and our plans to begin offering Soup in the weeks ahead are gathering momentum. There have been so many moments of Joy around the Farm and Bakery this week, even at the end of some beautifully long workdays. Sun-up to sun-down doesn't leave many hours for eating and sleeping this time of year. Some of this work has been to Celebrate the remarkable outpouring of monetary gifts over the past 3 weeks, and in this week's newsletter – Money as a Gift – we will invite you to celebrate with us and to consider the budget for this month. For some, this money-talk might be exhilarating and empowering – a real-time experiment in community mutual aid. Others will find it uncomfortable, complicated, or even terrifying. As we like to say here, all are welcome to the table!
Here is what you will find in this letter:
- Money as a Gift – Budget Update and Gift Requests
- Invitation – Bread Distribution Details for 5/8
- Gift Request – Work Party Volunteers for Sunday 5/10
- Our Expanded Website is Live – www.brushbrookcommunityfarm.org Thank you, John and Amy!
With Great Care,
Adam and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team
Money as a Gift – Budget and Gift Requests
It is with great celebration that we share the news that in the first 3 weeks of inviting Money into this experimental Agricultural Gift Economy, over 100 people have given a total of $4700 in monetary gifts! There is no other source of funding for this work other than these personal financial gifts. During this same time period, many hundreds of hours have been gifted to create and maintain all that sustains the Farm, the Famers and the Bakery, as well as a newly expanded Website.
First, we put out a PLEA for a kinder way to be with one another. Then we asked YOU if the experiment seemed worthwhile. You answered with a resounding YES, and so we have continued to work diligently on our end to sustain this thing as it grows into an organization (or, perhaps more appropriately, an organism). For example, as a Farm Crew, we are writing our job descriptions and refining how we communicate and share power. Those of us responsible for such things have developed a budget for the month of May, which is included below. The total remaining Financial Gifts requested for May is $4654.53. Many of you have asked for year-long projections, and we will make them public on the Website as soon as they are ready to share.
But wouldn’t it be simpler to just sell the bread? Surely it would. We at the Farm, however, seem stubbornly unwillingly to give up on this old-fashioned thing we call Community. Lewis Hyde, in The Gift, reminds us that “the cardinal difference between gift and commodity exchange that a gift establishes a feeling-bond between people, while the sale of a commodity leaves no necessary connection.” If Money symbolizes the nature of our human interactions, as we turn Money back into a Gift, we just might be able to trade transaction for relationship.
One of the Farm’s Root Convictions seems worth revisiting:
We could, collectively, ensure that nourishing, locally raised food is available to everyone who lives here without any barrier to access. This plays out as a practice of radical hospitality.
To discuss the Money required to run this project is to contemplate radical hospitality. This is sensitive territory, and so I will try to wade into this topic with some humble wonder and care. Let me give you one example from the ground. The farm crew – Erik, Collin, Ava, and myself – provide the foundational labor that goes into baking and distributing the Bread, caring for the sheep and cows, and growing and gleaning the vegetables that will round out the summer Soups and winter Gratitude Feasts. There are also dozens of inspiring and dedicated volunteers who show up, again and again, to move things forward. Here is something I have scratched my head over repeatedly: Some of those who give the most time and energy towards the work of giving away food to ANYONE who is hungry for any reason are those with the LOWEST INCOMES and the LEAST SAVINGS. This bears repeating. Lower-income people are joyfully giving gifts to their neighbors, including many who are more established and have higher incomes. Does this confound any assumptions about the roots of scarcity and abundance? To be surrounded by passionate people who create beauty by serving others in a time beset by ecological and social fracture – this is the greatest source of Joy in my life. I would guess that many of you have come into contact with this Joy through your connection to the Farm. This is a piece of what we mean by radical hospitality.
Here is the final Root Conviction:
Each person has unique gifts to offer to these collective efforts. For some, that might be writing checks to cover the expenses required to operate the Farm and Bakery. Others might help stack bakery firewood, clean the Town Hall after a community meal, organize volunteers, facilitate planning meetings, or watch their neighbor’s children to enable tasks like these to be accomplished.
If you’ve made it this far, you have some praise-worthy endurance. Here are two questions for you: Would you consider making a financial gift to support these efforts? Are you interested in helping out in other ways? If so, reply to email me for volunteer opportunities.
There are two ways to make financial gifts: Checks can be made out to Brush Brook Community Farm and mailed to PO Box 202, Huntington, VT, or you can click here to go to our "Help Out" page (just click on the DONATE button on that page). The outstanding budgetary request for the month of May is $4654.53. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Brush Brook Community Farm and Bakery Budget
|April 14 - 30||May (gifts as of 5-5)|
|Balance Carried Forward||-||$ 963.89||Total Gifts|
|Financial Gifts - Thank you!||$ 4,152.00||$ 609.00||$ 4,761.00|
|Bread Ingredients & Packaging||$ 557.75||$ 1,115.50|
|Bakery Overhead Costs (Rent, Electric, etc.)||$ 427.93||$ 855.86|
|Soup Production||-||$ 425.00|
|Farm Expenses||$ 525.88||$ 1,051.76|
|Farm Team Requested Expenses|
|Adam Wilson Personal Living Expenses||$ 324.04||$ 648.08|
|Adam Wilson Rent||$ 100.00||$ 200.00|
|Erik Weil Rent/Housing||$ 250.00||$ 500.00|
|Collin McCarthy Utilities||$ 50.00||$ 100.00|
|Bread Distribution Pavillion Construction||$ 750.00||-|
|Bakery Deferred Maintenance Fund||-||$ 400.00|
|Estimated Federal/State Taxes||$ 175.61||$ 351.22|
|Fees to Obtain Nonprofit Status||-||$ 525.00|
|Paypal Fees (actual April, estimated May)||$ 26.90||$ 55.00|
|Total||$ 3,188.11||$ 6,227.42|
|Balance||$ 963.89||$ (4,654.53)|
Invitation – Bread Distribution Details for 5/8/20
Bread Gift Distribution
Friday 5/8, 4:00pm – 6:00 pm
Brush Brook Community Farm & Running Stone Bread
4582 Main Road, Huntington, VT. Look for parking signs when you arrive
And please respect precautionary distancing guidelines.
Varieties this week: Mountain Bread, Polenta, 3 Seed, Rye, Sprouted Grain, Backcountry Loaf (gf)
Would you consider coming by for a loaf for your household, and possibly one to drop off to someone on your way home?
Gift Request – Work Party Volunteers for Sunday 5/10/20
We have a big push this weekend to finish up the perimeter fence to get the cows out grazing, and we would love your help.
When: Sunday 3-5 pm
Where: Park and Meet at the Bread Pavilion.
What: Clearing and Burning Brush and Building Fence for the Cows
What to Bring: Long sleeves and Pants, work gloves, and any of the following tools if you have them: Pruning Saw, Loppers, Hand Pruners.
Please RSVP by responding to this email or by phone to Adam at 802.922.2808.
Our Expanded Website is Live – www.brushbrookcommunityfarm.org
Please visit our new Website to learn more about the work we are doing to create an Agricultural Gift Economy here in Huntington, Vermont. Many thanks to the beautiful work of John Hadden and Amy Redman as well as all those who sent in photographs!