December 13, 2023
We write to you today to ask for an end of year contribution to the Many Hands Sustainability Center. https://mhof.net/many-hands-
Back in 2007, gifted with 12 former prisoners each week as volunteers on the farm, we felt it was time to formalize what has been a burning need for both of us all of our lives, to share with others what we know. And thus, the MHSC came to life.
These are our stated purposes:
- educate the public about techniques, products, inputs and devices useful on small, sustainable farms,
- study ways to make small and family farms a sustainable livelihood in the Northeast
- teach practical skills related to self-sufficient living,
- demonstrate ways to build community via collaborative work,
- promote efforts to move toward sustainability in use of energy, materials, and living organisms
- foster self-respect and competence in young people,
- encourage connections between people of diverse backgrounds via sustainable agriculture and other environmentally benign endeavors,
- develop the consciousness that in caring for ourselves and each other we must also care for the earth
- generate awareness of the connection between healthy food and healthy bodies
- cultivate the knowledge and personal qualities necessary to create economically sustainable enterprises
Laudable goals, as we ponder them. We have been blessed to own a little piece of paradise here for now 43 years, and it seems that life on the farm only gets better. Our accomplishments under the umbrella of the MHSC in 2023 were roughly as follows –
- We held 6 very well attended workshops over the year on fruit trees, building a chicken tractor, cooking with a CSA shar
- food preservation, permaculture systems, and shiitakes. Many thanks to Clare Caldwell, Jonathan Anderson and Jono Neiger who were co-collaborators with us.
Pot luck at fruit tree workshop
Plugging mushroom logs
Food preservation extravaganza
- The MHSC supported the employment of Kamarin Oleksak, a graduate of the Stetson School in Barre, for a second summer. He has since moved on to work and live with his birth family in the family business and is incredibly happy.
Kamarin pruning apples
- With targeted donations from all of you, we were able to pay for 7 summer and 7 fall CSA shares to be donated to the Worcester Community Fridges over a 26-week period. Total support came to $3920. This program makes food available to any in need in Worcester, no questions asked, no red tape.
- We weekly host the kids from Stetson for a morning of work, lunch and community.
Candido and Yohairo moving bird house
- We hosted several college groups this summer and fall to get some work done and also receive a few pearls of wisdom. This from a Clark University student, “I really got to see for myself the importance of a farmer’s duties and how much they contribute to providing good food. I knew that the farms work super hard but doing the work myself did kick my butt. It made me have a bigger respect for farmers”
Clark Students carrying a heavy silage tarp up the road
kids from the NOFA/Mass Gardening the Community Project
- Our popular and sometimes infamous weekly newsletter, now reaching about 1000 souls is packed with farming and health tips, links to advice from the outer world, inspiration and opinion (that’s the infamous part!). Our position of Covid won us a book contract with Chelsea Green.
- Through Chelsea Green we published Many Hands Make a Farm: 47 Years Questioning Authority, Feeding a Community, and Building an Organic Movement. You can get a signed copy of our book by sending $29 (to cover postage) to the MHSC, either electronically or with a check. Or you can come to our book signing that will take place at the Barre Players Theatre, 64 Common St., Barre on January 14 – 2 – 5 pm.
We are a very modest organization, as non-profits go. There is almost no overhead so your donations go right to supporting folks learning how to be more self-sufficient, think for themselves, grow clean and nutritious food (and prepare it), and share it with the world. We are all about people working in community and having a fantastic time in the process. Come join us.
Julie and Jack and the Many Hands
Make checks payable to MHSC
411 Sheldon Road, Barre, MA 01005 978-355-2853; firstname.lastname@example.org
Skippy, Julie and Jack