Many Hands Make a Farm

I have alluded to the book that Jack and I have written. Well, it has a publication date – November 16 – and you can pre-order it if you wish.

“This book offers a window into living a life of meaning, rooted in integrity, values, critical thinking, and persistent effort. . . . [ Jack and Julie] have also shown me and so many others how to love across difference, how to tell the truth, and what it is to live well.”
—Leah Penniman, co-founder, Soul Fire Farm and author of Farming While Black

In this honest and entertaining memoir, two activists recount the nearly half century they’ve spent questioning authority, raising a family, starting an organic farm, building a community, leading a farming organization, and experiencing the struggles and joys of living a purposeful life.

Many Hands Make a Farm traces the inspiring journey of organic farming pioneers Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge. The couple met in 1976, working as community organizers in Boston. After falling in love and starting a family, they decided to use Jack’s occasional side-job earnings as a board game designer as a springboard to get out of the city and move back to the land where they could grow healthy food for their children. What began as a family homestead soon blossomed into the diversified Many Hands Organic Farm.

In a time when society at large was “going along to get along,” Julie and Jack stood out as leaders and iconoclasts. They chose to buck the mainstream by minimizing energy use, raising their food organically, not relying on credit, favoring natural health care, and actively participating in the arts, believing that taking risks and making bold decisions can unlock one’s full potential.

Many Hands Make a Farm will resonate with fans of original thinkers from Henry David Thoreau and Wendell Berry to Lynn Margulis and Adelle Davis. The book shows the value of finding roots in a community, respecting the Earth, and combining social justice work with the joys and challenges of family. These themes shine through on every page, making this memoir a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance on finding meaning in this life.

Here it is on Amazon –
And on Bookshop –

Expressing Gratitude this Week

Last week Jack and I were honored to receive the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” at the NOFA Summer Conference. Though we have been retired from NOFA and The Natural Farmer for 3 years, we appreciate the gratitude that was sent our way on two separate occasions last week. We had a long “run” at NOFA, about 36 years, and raised our family in its bosom. Thank you to Al Johnson, NOFA treasurer, Jocelyn Langer, ED of NOFA/Mass, Laura Davis, president of NOFA, and all of the others who made this award possible.

Marty Dagoberto – NOFA/Mass policy director, son Dan, Julie, Jack, Al Johnson of NJ NOFA and Caro Rossell- former NOFA/Mass Education director

Videos this week

Turkeys moving to the new home

CSA News Week 11

Here is the line up for this week.
Best guess on what will be in your share bags this week

  • Turnips
  • Parsley
  • Beets
  • Lettuce

Another beautiful crop of lettuce coming in this week.

  • Tulsi

To the right of the basil and left of the husk cherries – this is a most powerful herb for tea, or your salad or as a spice in your cooking.

  • Arugula

  • Squash

Here is our present planting of summer squash. It took some hard hits with the excessive rains and won’t be able to survive all summer long, but we planted a second crop last week (which is already up) and also some more cucumbers in order to lengthen the enjoyment.

  • Cukes
  • oregano
  • Beans

We will start picking this batch of green beans on Wednesday

Check out these pole beans!

  • Collards

Clare and I are proud to have finally addressed our earliest crop of collards which have been in weeds a couple of times. Last week we transplanted in some new starts and now have mulched the entire bed. Better late than never department.

  • Kale
  • Fennel for larges

We attempted several times to germinate the fennel, but only came up with a few plants, enough for the larges to enjoy this week.

Where are the tomatoes, anyway? It has always bemused us that we have the latest tomatoes in Central Mass, it seems. But they look good and our hopes are that we will have them for a long time once they get started.

Working Shareholders Always Welcome

In case it hasn’t been clear by my constant recruitment efforts for folks to participate in the farm in some fashion, there is always more work to be done than we can accomplish. However, almost everyone who has walked away from here does so with a smile on his or her face (if not an ache in their backs!) because we have such a great time discussing current events, practical farming tips, personal victories and frustrations of those of us present, and then there is the full belly at the end of the morning when we sit down to eat together. Hands and feet and knees in the dirt are life changing and enhancing. And of course, there is the large farm share that you get in exchange for your efforts. Come join us!

Now is a good time to order broilers for our August 27 slaughter date

For two weeks now on (almost) dry pasture, these beauties are growing nicely and enjoying their range. If you order before August 27 and then pick them up that day, you can take home your whole bird (with giblets and neck) and process it any way you like. This is a rare opportunity and will not come up again until next year.

Order Broiler Chickens Here

Ways to Donate to MHSC

We are now providing 14 summer shares to these folks and only need $1000 more to provide 14 fall shares to the Worcester Community Fridges.

We have an anonymous donor who says,
“Hi! The $1,000 balance on the community fridge fundraising in the newsletter has been gnawing at me. You should feel free to say in the next issue that an anonymous friend of the farm has pledged to match any donations made this month, up to whatever the current balance is.”

If you would like to donate for shares you can make a check out to the Many Hands Sustainability Center and send to 411 Sheldon Road, Bare, MA 01005 or make a donation on line here –

Donate Here today and get your donation matched!

Workshops at MHOF

Two more workshops coming up this fall
Food Preservation with Many Hands Organic Farm
Saturday, September 16, 2023
10 am – 2 pm with pot luck lunch at noon
Many Hands Sustainability Center
411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA

We preserve hundreds of pounds of food each year enough to fill 7 freezers, 400 mason jars, a root cellar, and cupboards with dried foods. Join us at the height of the food preservation season to preserve our way through the day. We will freeze vegetables, can tomatoes and grape juice, make applesauce, start some lacto-fermented sauerkraut, dry some herbs and garlic and discuss best methods for canning, freezing, drying, lacto-fermenting, and root cellaring. At lunch time we will share a pot luck lunch.

Limit – 14 participants.
Price for workshop: $50-$100.

Register Here

Drying garlic

Watch on Facebook
Watch on Instagram

Hedgerows for Food and Diversity; Agroforestry on Farms and Homesteads October 7, Jono Neiger to lead; 10-3 with pot luck; $50-$100

Farm Doin’s

This is vacation time of year and our farm staff was reasonably depleted throughout the week. But it didn’t rain much and it seems that things are getting back to normal in the hydration department.
Besides providing generous vegetable shares this week, with our biggest time sink being picking the beans, we were able to

  • Completely take down the rest of the chicken house, consult with the cement guy and also son Chuk on best practices for foundations, while also removing most of the rocks that were in the previous foundation
  • Turn over the garlic beds into carrot beds, plant lettuce in old onion beds, transplant in some collards in a collard neighborhood

Clare filling up Lucas’ tank for administering our planting drench

  • Plant two more beds into chard to try to keep up with the deer pressure
  • Move the pigs into their third woods/pasture
  • Keep up with the blueberry and raspberry harvest – thank you, Kamarin and Stetson folks
  • Move the turkeys out onto the front lawn and thus end all brooding for 2023
  • Mowing in odd moments
  • Keep up with the nutritional spraying.
  • Thursday Clare and I met via zoom with Bella from AEA and picked up some new recipe improvements –
    • Green bean foliar – add 1 qt each of seastim and photomag – this to keep Japanese and Mexican bean beetles at bay
    • Tomato foliar – add 1 pt molybdenum and 1 quart photo-mag – this to keep tomato hornworm at bay
    • Vegetative foliar – add 1 quart photo-mag and 1 pint molybdenum – this to empower our Swiss chard to higher accomplishments
    • Blueberry fruit fill – 1 quart manganese and 1 quart sea shield – we are using this on our grapes and they are starting to show signs of anthracnose.

Here are our improved foliars for those who are interested. Use one quart of mix per tank

Green Beans: Fruit-Fill Foliar
Interval: 1 week

  • 2 Quarts Accelerate
  • 2 Quart HoloK
  • 2 Quart PhotoMag
  • 1 quart SeaStim
  • 1 pint Rebound copper
  • 1 quart Rebound Manganese
  • 1 quart Photomag
  • 1 T Micro 5000 Organic

Tomatoes –Flowering/fruiting Foliar
Interval: 1 week

  • 3 Quart Accelerate
  • 2 Quarts HoloK
  • 1 Quart HoloCal
  • 2.5 Quart PhotoMag
  • 0.75 Quart ReBound Copper
  • 0.75 Quart ReBound Iron
  • 1 Pint ReBound Molybdenum
  • 0.5 Pint ReBound Cobalt
  • 1 T Micro 5000 Organic
  • 2 Quart ReBound Manganese

Vegetative Weekly Foliar
Interval: 1 week

  • 2 Quart HoloCal
  • 3 Quart PhotoMag
  • 1 Quart SeaStim
  • 1.5 quarts ReBound Manganese
  • 1 Pint ReBound Copper
  • 1 Quart ReBound Iron
  • 1 Pint Rejuvenate
  • 1 pint ReBound Molybdenum
  • 1 quart HoloK
  • 2 T Micro5000 organic per tank

Blueberries: Fruit-Fill Foliar
Interval: 1 week

  • 2 Quart HoloK
  • 1 Quart SeaCrop
  • 1 Quart SeaShield
  • 1 Pint PhotoMag
  • 1 Pint ReBound Iron
  • 1 ½ quart ReBound Manganese
  • 1 Pint ReBound Copper
  • 1 T Micro 5000 Organic


Doesn’t that basil look happy in its leaf mulch!

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