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First:

Dylan

Last:

Roberts

Co-Applicant / Spouse:

Josephine Roberts

Email:

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Past and present farming experience:

We fell in love with farming after living and managing a small organic farm and orchard in Hawaii (who wouldn't). Since moving back to Maine several years ago we have been searching for a way to get on to the land in a way that is reflective of our particular passions. In the meantime, I play mad scientist in our apartment, growing everything I can get to sprout in any space I can find

Counties being considered:
  • Androscoggin County
  • Knox County
  • Lincoln County
  • Sagadahoc County
  • Waldo County
  • York County
Types of enterprises considered:
  • Apple/Fruit
  • Beef
  • Berries
  • Christmas Trees
  • Dairy (cows)
  • Flowers
  • Goats
  • Grains
  • Greenhouse
  • Hay/Forage
  • Herbs
  • Hogs
  • Horses
  • Livestock
  • Nursery
  • Ornamentals
  • Pasture
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Sugaring
  • Vegetables
  • Woodlot
Total Acres Desired:

10+

Tillable Acres:

1+

Wooded acres:

3+

Acres in Pasture:

3+

Acres in Pasture:

3+

Acres in Orchard/Fruit/Perennials:

3+

Organic:
  • Yes
Farm structures needed:
  • Barn(s)
  • Storage
  • Shop
  • Greenhouses
Equipment needed:

N/A

Arrangement(s) considered
  • Standard Sale
  • Owner-Financed Sale
  • Short-Term Lease
  • Long Term Lease
  • Lease with Option to Buy
  • Work to Own (Gradual Transfer of Responsibility & Farm Assests)
  • Partnership
  • Joint Venture with eventual sale
  • Farm Manager
  • Apprentice with a Farm Owner for a year or more
I am interested in farms with Conservation Easements:
  • Maybe (Please send me information)
Here is a summary of the vision for my farming future and/or business plan:

We have a great affection for market farmers, but after some lengthy soul-searching it has become clear that it is not for us. CSA's and the weekly market are long established parts of our lives now, but neither of us feel that the lifestyle associated with traditional farming would be fulfilling in the long term. We are both educators, of some stripe, and have always dreamed of having an educational farm.

Given even maximal sustainability, traditional agriculture represents a consumption based model that requires certain inputs and produces certain outputs. There are vast differences between good and bad practice, but at the base we are still living with an agricultural model that moves production away from individuals and towards specialists (farmers), and as such will always separate people into producers and consumers. We imagine that if we are serious about a truly sustainable future, this basic dichotomy must be changed and food production must be simplified and incorporated into people's everyday lives. In this sense, permaculture practice seems to be an obvious choice.

Permaculture research has come a long way from the English garden of the 70's, and going forward work needs to be done to scale production upwards while incorporating a wider variety of landscapes and climates. We would like to devote our lives to this kind of work, imagining designs for working landscapes that recall time-tested practices while taking advantage of new technologies. The real dream is to find whole-systems approaches that are relevant to the urban population with a spare closet and a balcony as well as rural farmers who want to lower their required inputs and impact.

Simply put, we would like to have a farm for the curious, a place to revive old methods and experiment with new ones. We imagine partnering with university extensions to do research on native varietals or the cultivation of temperate crops that may be viable given the changing climate. Such institutions may also have interest in breeding new varietals that are suited for hydroponic or indoor growing, or doing research into larger scale permaculture techniques like food forests. We imagine doing work trying to remediate many types of landscapes back into productive land, and planning ahead for extreme weather events. There would be events for families, for kids and their parents to come to the farm and see for themselves how the farm mirrors cycles that are already present in nature. We could hold workshops for teachers and educators on how to incorporate nature into their classrooms and their homes. Something that is very personal to me would be giving away as much as we can to food shelves, schools, etc. One of the most radical acts we do is feeding people with no questions asked.

It's always been the case that my wife and I have far more ideas that we do resources, but having it the other way around sounds boring. During the process of trying to get back to the land, we've decided that connecting with Maine Farmland Trust can only be a positive, even if nothing ever comes of it. We will always have big plans even if we only ever lead small lives.