Greetings Friends and Neighbors, 

Standing in line has a bit of a PR problem. For one, some are ahead and others behind. This past Friday the bread ran out well before 6pm, so being at the back of the line had some real consequence. Have you ever stood in a buffet line and felt yourself succumbing to Scarcity, the social dynamics in the room drifting towards a Feeding Frenzy? We have carefully avoided using the words ‘Free Bread’ for this very reason. If the food is ‘FREE,’ value has been stripped away. A GIFT, given from the other hand, carries an invitation to relationship. Another problem with a line – with their back toward you and a mask obscuring their face, you might not recognize the person standing six feet away as your neighbor, or your child’s first grade teacher, or your electrician. Again, heartbreaking at a time when people’s hunger for connection seems to growl louder than their stomachs. And so, at the Farm and Bakery, we are asking each other this question:

How might we Bend the Bread Line and join the ends to make a Circle?

As a Circle of Eaters, we could place all of the week’s bread in the center and carefully decide together how to share it, a town-wide equivalent of serving dinner family-style. There is a distinct difference between Scarcity and Limit. As a Circle of Eaters, we could decide that we would like to produce more bread and imagine together how to sustain that – Who would help to stack the firewood for the wood-fired oven or do the bookkeeping? Who would purchase the grain or pay the insurance and electric bills? Who would staff the Bread Distribution or keep the grass mowed in the parking area? We will increase the bake production to 260 loaves this week in hopes of having bread for everyone who arrives. To form a circle of this many bread eaters AND maintain social distancing, the circle would be VERY LARGE. So maybe this begs another question:  

How could we turn our gaze toward the unmasked, smiling faces of our fellow eaters at a time when gathering in large groups is discouraged?   

Here is our idea: Would you be willing to share a story with us and each other? Where did the bread travel? Who received it? How was it enjoyed? What conversations did the gift encourage?  

Our specific request: Would you help us to build a Gift Story Board by writing down a line or two in response to one of these questions on a piece of paper no larger than a postcard and bring it with you to Bread Distribution on Friday?  If you can’t make it Friday, would you send your story with a neighbor who is coming to pick up for you?

Here is what you’ll find in this week’s letter:

  1. Invitation—Bread Gift Distribution
  2. Starting the Gift Story Board – from Harry Frank
  3. Non-Monetary Requests – ways to help the efforts.
  4. Budget Update and Financial Gift Requests

With Great Care, 

Adam and the Brush Brook Community Farm Team

Invitation – Bread Gift Distribution

Friday 5/15, 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?

Starting the Gift Story Board – from Harry Frank

Harry Frank
478 Salvas Road
Huntington, VT  05462
(802) 989-4913

I haven’t gone to pick up bread for us because I didn’t think we needed it. But over the past three weeks, our neighbors have picked up bread for us - me, my daughter and son - and brought it to our house.

We are living together for the first time since my wife, their mother, Enid passed away in January of 2019.

Enid loved Adam’s bread - especially the Polenta Bread. I think that she loved all things that people made and shared.

The first thing I do when the bread arrives is smell it. Then, I give it to Lila and Eli to smell. In the freezer, we have one jar of strawberry jam that Enid made in the summer of 2018. I am going to bring it out to eat with Adam’s bread.

Thank you,
Harry for Lila and Eli
May 12, 2020

Non-Monetary Requests – ways to help the efforts.

There are so many passionate people involved in this project, many of whom have cleared brush, stacked firewood, stickered bread bags, built a website, researched organizational structures, helped with the farm’s budget, and MORE over the past weeks. Their enthusiasm has brought so much JOY to this work.  If you would like to get involved, here are some more ideas:

  1. STORIES – Please see above request and spend a few minutes writing down a story to help us build the Gift Story Board.
  2. Bread Distribution Staffing:  1-2 hours, Friday afternoon between 3:30 and 6pm, helping with Parking, Giving Bread, and Greeting.  
  3. Farm Bikes – We are looking for a couple more utility bikes (mountain bikes are ideal, but a road bike could work) to get to and from pastures where the sheep are grazing. Do you have an extra bike in the garage?
  4. Building Materials – We have a couple of construction projects this summer and in an attempt to keep budgets low, we are compiling a list of gifted building materials – lumber, metal roofing, fasteners, etc.  
  5. Carpenters – Are you interested in joining a team to expand the Bread Distribution Pavilion or build a Wintering Shed for the Sheep and Cows later this summer?  
  6. Bakery Firewood – The maintenance of the Bakery Firewood supply is a job that needs intermittent effort, averaging 1-2 hours per week. We are looking for a group to oversee ordering, bucking, and stacking by coordinating the help of willing volunteers.
  7. Brush Clearing and Pasture Weed Removal – As we bring in new pasture areas, there will be continual opportunities to help us to improve the grazing lands.  
  8. Cedar Posts – We are looking for 10-20 cedar posts to finish building cow pasture fencing.

Budget Update and Financial Gift Requests

This project is emerging as a conversation between those of us who love to produce and share food and those who eat food. Since stopping selling any bread on March 15th, the only revenues for the Farm and Bakery have come from individual donations. Many thanks to all of those who have jumped in with the first round of Monetary Gifts!  

To clarify the labor picture, Adam is proposing to work on this Community Project full-time, and requesting a monthly living stipend of $648 plus $200 for rent. This works out to an annual salary of $10,000. Does it seem worthwhile for Adam to give his time toward the possibility of a Huntington-based Agricultural Gift Economy? You might ask, how does one live on this small amount of money? Quite richly, in fact, with the support of a loving community. These cost-of-living numbers are based on Adam’s actual personal expenses from last year. Collin, Erik, and Ava – the other members of the Farm and Bakery Team – will continue to maintain outside jobs for the time being, and so their financial requests are quite modest. There are others who are taking on significant responsibility who have so far offered all of their time as a gift. We will put together some year-long projections over the next couple of weeks. The remaining monetary request for the final two weeks of May is $2,788.  Many thanks for your consideration!

Brush Brook Community Farm and Bakery Budget

April 14 - 30 May (gifts as of 5-14)
Balance Carried Forward  -   $                        963.89 
Financial Gifts - Thank you!  $   4,152.00   $                    1,526.00 
Estimated Expenses
Production Expenses
Bread Ingredients & Packaging  $      557.75   $                    1,115.50 
Bakery Overhead Costs (Rent, Electric, etc.)  $      277.93   $                        555.86 
Bakery Rent  $      150.00   $                        300.00 
Farm Expenses  $      525.88   $                    1,051.76 
Farm/Bakery Team Requested Gifts
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 
    Paypal Fees (actual April, estimated May)  $         26.90   $                          55.00 
Total  $   3,188.11   $                    5,277.42 
Balance  $      963.89   $                  (2,787.53)

Support the Farm & Bakery

The operations of Brush Brook Community Farm & Bakery are maintained by neighborly working hands and financial gifts. Your generous monetary support propels the gift of food forward to those open to receiving it.

Thank you!