Immigrant Update

Have I ever mentioned what an amazing person Anne Gobi is? You might remember that she was our state senator in central Mass for a very long time. I best know her in her role as third clarinet in the Quabbin Community Band. But most recently in her new role in the Healy government as the Director of Rural Affairs, she responded to our query for help in locating immigrant farmers who are ready to work. She hooked us up with Ken Brown and Sarah Joseph from the Executive Office of Labor. They work with new immigrants who are living in shelters and who have work permits. We met on Friday and set up a tentative date to have a meet and greet, eat and work session with a handful of Haitian immigrants who might want to work on the farm. Donations to the Many Hands Sustainability Center have been generous this past year such that we can hire a couple of folks for the season. We are excited to move forward!

Expressing Gratitude this Week

I met with Annie and Laura from NOFA/Mass this week because they reached out to us to collaborate on one of our workshops this year. Co-branding this workshop with NOFA made it possible for us to offer this workshop for free. This topic is by far my most favorite farm topic, so I am grateful that we can broaden our outreach for attendance.

Keeping the soil covered: tarps, cover crops, mulch
Saturday, June 1, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price – free to the public; supported by a USDA TOPP grant and co-hosted by NOFA/Mass
Presenters –Julie Rawson, Matthew Kornn
Spanish Translation will be available

We aim for the highest possible fertility, a no till scenario, increased soil organic matter, and high nutrient density, disease and insect resistance, and as few weeds as possible. At this workshop we will discuss our 10 years of no till, a bit about our problems with this modality as they have evolved over the years, and the solutions that we have implemented. Always a work in progress, this fascinating journey is always full of new insights and observations.

Specifically, we will show how we use cover crops pre, post and during the season, tarps throughout the farming year, and myriad sources of mulch. We will demonstrate the use of our bale chopper, mulch some broccoli with chopped straw or hay and leaves, take down some cover crops and use a pre-plant soil drench for planting of tomatoes in the next 2-3 days. We will remove tarps from some of our sweet potato beds and prepare the beds for planting similar to the tomato beds. Finally, we will undersow inoculated (with biocoat gold) crimson clover in our mulched collard beds and apply a transplant drench to the beds.

The Transition to Organic Partnership Program helps farmers aspiring to become certified to work with a mentor in this process. Information about TOPP will be presented by Laura Davis, Certification Assistance Coordinator for NOFA/Mass


Our new Harriet with surrogate mom, Skippy

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Using our new black plastic bag sledge

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Join Our CSA

We have set prices for 2024 and are ready to receive your subscriptions for our summer CSA – running 22 weeks from June 3 – November 1. The fall CSA runs from November 4 – November 25.

Summer CSA:

  • Large – $775 – $875; SNAP – $725
  • Medium – $575-$675; SNAP – $525
  • Small – $450 – $550; SNAP – $425

On March 16, we have raised $13,112.86. Our Goal is $80,191. That’s 16.35%. – up 5.22% from last week.

Thanks, everyone. We have a long way to go, but the sun is coming out!

Order your Summer CSA share here

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Clare and Jack Party – June 29
Put this important date on your calendar – June 29

Jack turned 80 this year, and we have decided to hold another MHOF summer bash. Because Clare is moving on after16 years of amazing service to the farm, we are celebrating her at the same time. It will start at 2 pm that day and will be a big pot luck with lots of hanging out, farm tours, games and most likely fireworks. Please put the date on your calendar. We would like everyone here to celebrate these two amazing people!

A Healer Friend of Mine

Nicki qualified as a Nutritional Therapist from the UK with over 20 years experience in naturopathic nutrition, detox and energy work. She has a love of nature and an investigative mind aiming always to get to the root cause of an issue in the most holistic way. Over the years this has led her to incorporate regular detox cleansing in her life and exploration of the subconscious toxicity affecting the mind, body and spirit including transgenerational stressors affecting health and wellbeing. Profoundly effective Reset Clearing energy work is now a central part of her clinic along with seasonal detox programs.

Her website is DetoxReset is a one stop clinic with a range of programs to help you thrive through detoxing from physical and emotional issues. At the clinic she uses state of the art equipment alongside energy work to help clients restore balance and harmony in their life: Reset Clearing energy work, Light Therapy, Kinesiology, Nutritional Therapy, Psycho-neuro-immunology, Full Spectrum infra red sauna, Foot Spa, energy products and more as appropriate for each individual.

She works across the Globe 1-to-1 on zoom and also with groups, supports seasonal cleanse / detox programs and individual parasite and liver cleanses. Please have a look at the Spring Detox Program and Energy Clearing Workshop for detoxification pathways available now to support the transition into Spring over the Equinox. Both links are in the shop  She also has a back catalogue of Energy Clearing Videos on a range of topics.

Nicki Edgell Dip cPNI DNN fntp
Light Therapy Practitioner
Energy clearing Practitioner
Clinical Psycho-neuro-immunologist
Nutritional Therapist
Click here to Join my Mailing List for the Latest Health, Energy and Wellness Information
01273 230947 / 07786405366

Many Hands Make a Farm

Jack and I were honored to be invited to be interviewed by John Kempf on his Regenerative Agriculture Podcast. You can hear Episode 109 here –
Froom Urban Organizers to Organic Pioneers with Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge

You can buy our book here.

Educational Resources this week

There is a powerful book coming out entitled Barons: Money, Power, and the Corruption of America’s Food Industry
by Austin Frerick.  It is coming out on March 25.
Here is a free link to the upcoming symposium, which features Austin.  We have assembled a wonderful group of speakers, starting with Eliot Coleman. Alice Waters, Dan Barber, Vandana Shiva, and many more. Hope you can find a little time to watch this. If life is too busy, just watch the first 15 minutes. It will give you a good sense of it.
This Sunday will be the release of Session one of the 2024 symposium, followed by Session 2 on April 7.
Please use this link for complimentary tickets. Please share with your community.
Many thanks for your support,

Ari Whitten with Dr. Tom O’Bryan

Is Inflammation The Main Driver Of Disease & Death?
Major takeaways for me came from a quote by a Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld from Israel who O’Bryan quoted as saying, “We are born 99% human and die 90% bacteria. O’Bryan reminds us that inflammation is a necessary protective mechanism in the body, and excessive inflammation is the problem. He notes that we most need to look at the end of our forks for answers. There are other interesting bits on the power of toxic fragrances to trigger Alzheimer’s disease down the line. A statement by the WHO suggesting that the last ten years of life for the average American can be expected to be unpleasant decline was another piece of information that gave me pause. This is on the shorter side for a Whitten interview, and well worth the listen, in my opinion. You can sign up for O’Bryan’s free docuseries, “The Inflammation Equation: Decoding the Steps for Optimal Well-Being starting on April 4.  Here –

Volunteering at MHOF

This past week we had a wonderful visit from 9 students from Hamilton College on Sunday and Monday. We accomplished a number of important tasks, Jack ran two workshops, we ate a lot, and had some wonderful conversations around the table. We sent them off to their pre-arranged quarters at 6 pm on Monday  expecting to see them for one more full day on Tuesday. We received an email early Tuesday morning, not signed by anyone in particular, that someone was upset by something that someone on the farm staff had said, and that they were returning forth with to Hamilton. They offered to talk to us about the purported infraction, but outreach on our part has received silence. Maybe we will hear from them, and be able to learn from the experience, but meanwhile, all of us on the farm had a marvelous experience.

Community Fridges

For the fourth year we are working with the Worcester Woo Fridge which operates 4 refrigerators around the city for anyone who needs food. Historically we have delivered 14 shares for 26 weeks and we are setting a goal of 16 this year.  That is a total of $9760. We now have in hand $2,198.46

We have an anonymous donor who will match our donations $1 for $1 up to $4,880. Thus, our goal for donations comes to $2,681.54. Will  you help us chip away at this goal with your donation?

You can write a check to MHSC and send it to us at 411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005 or donate on line here. We are quite enthused about this match this year.

Free Table from subscriber

I have an 8X4 solid oak, 2 pedestal table that I am giving away plus some other furniture. If you know of any one in need please have them contact me at 508-414-1312. Colleen

2024 Workshop Series

Here are the first two workshops – happening in March. You can find the others on the website here –

Natural and Low-cost Homestead Design
Saturday, March 23, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50-$100 sliding scale
Presenters: Jack Kittredge and Julie Rawson

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Ayurveda, Yoga, and Seasonal Cooking
Saturday, March 30, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50 – $100 sliding scale
Presenter: Jennifer Peck

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Navigating the new normal- power equipment and implements on the farm and homestead.
Saturday, May 11, 2024
9am-12noon with pot luck lunch
Price: $50 – $100 sliding scale
Presenter: Dave Petrovick with support from Jonathan Anderson

More from Dave on his upcoming workshop. You would be crazy not to come to this workshop if you own a machine on your farm or homestead

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Register for Workshops

Jennifer’s Recipe of the Week

Chicken Bone Broth
Here is the proper link to the bone broth recipe from last week.  My apologies.  Click here!

This week recipe is Kitchari.  An ancient Ayurveda meal that is often used during a cleanse (in which I did last week).  It a great comfort meal that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy or lethargic like many of our American “comfort meals”.  It is nourishing, easy to digest and resets the digestive system as well as detoxifying.  It’s a perfect go to after a weekend of indulgence to lighten up.  The two main ingredients; mung beans and basmati rice that provides a complete protein.

I will be making this meal at my upcoming workshop on March 30th from 9am-12pm.  I hope you will join me!

View Recipe here

Staff Update

This past week Elenore made the decision to leave us by the end of April. We are a bit far for her to commute to us each day, so she is going to go full-time with her job at Hamshaw’s. I am very grateful to Elenore for all that she has brought to us on the farm. She is a top notch tractor driver, chainsawer, dog trainer, and mistress of all trades. She mentioned to me the other day, “I try to always give my very best.” Agreed! We will miss Elenore and wish her well as she continues on her life path.

A year and a half ago Luke MacLean came to us and asked to work for us. But then he found he needed to finish a work commitment in California and left for 2023. He came back to us at the end of the year, but by then we had hired Elenore and didn’t have a spot for him. Regardless, he came and volunteered a few times, and I let him know that if a spot opened up on the farm. When Elenore gave her notice, I called Luke back up and voila, he will start working with us today! We look forward to your tenure here, Luke

Anterior Pre-Cingulate Cortex update

Those who know me well will appreciate the magnitude of this decision to “stop” doing something. Tuesday morning, I woke up realizing that it was time for me to give up the “f” word. I had one mis-step when I referred to the word, but Jack counseled me that it wasn’t so bad as actually “using” the word. So, I am still holding firm and starting to think maybe I could give up JC, GD, HS, SOB . . .

Farm Doins

We are following a few threads right now on the farm. We have finished the wall clearing in the pond field (probably until next fall), and have a big pile of brush that I hope to burn this next Friday.

The town finished the big ash tree across the street and left very large pieces of wood in the driveway. Elenore, Jim, Justin, and I am sure a few more folks, will accomplish getting the wood cut so that the rest of us can split it and get it put away as soon as possible. Many thanks to Yohairo and the Stetson kids for taking a major role in the disposition of the wood.

Matt has been honchoing the laying of pipe, trench-making and laying of hose and electric shock for the pig fence into the pond field. That is in process.

Danny and Stu and company finished the shelving on the side of the barn and put away all of our lumber, all in one well-organized place.

The rest of us have been slowly fertilizing first (with Epsom salts and boron) and then tarping the vegetable fields. We hope to have them all down by the end of Monday.

We moved our first batch of seedling starts to the yellow hoop house and accomplished the planting of the chard and leek seeds in the greenhouse this week.


Get lost, kid