Laughing Dog Farm Seeks Co-Collaborators/Successors For the Next Generation
Twenty something years ago I had the great privilege and unique opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of occupying and developing a small organic farm on a stunningly beautiful hilltop in western Massachusetts, (Franklin County) on land that had once been part of a notorious commune in the 1970’s.
Over two decades, my loyal wife Divya and I, along with seasonal interns, housemates and various helpers, tirelessly developed our little Laughing Dog Farm into a unique, green paradise and well-loved, regional learning hub. Onto a largely empty canvas we planted dozens of fruit trees: peach, pear, apple, asian chestnut, grape, pawpaw and asian pears, plus ample perennials, berries and multiple raised bed gardens with elaborate vertical trellises, fences, arbors and other custom, growing apparatus.
Over time we also built two large solar hoophouses, tended bees, and shepherded a herd of delightful dairy goats, relentlessly building soil tilth and fertility with their waste. We experimented wildly, studied our craft and taught similarly inspired young folks (WWOOFers, etc.) some of the skills and insights we’d been gleaning and practicing over the years. We also operated a small CSA, shared our diverse produce and flowers at area farmers markets, and made regular donations to a local soup kitchen and community meals program. With grit and perseverance we built this modest permaculture-inspired farm into an oasis of edible sustenance, a fecund food forest, and secluded sanctuary from the troubled world and her myriad problems.
It has been a blessed and bucolic life, and for two decades we have been full of boundless energy, laser-like focus and green inspiration. Until now…
Sadly, in 2021 we were beset with a series of (health and house) problems which has put our continued stewardship of Laughing Dog Farm in question. There was always too much to do in order to manage and maintain all the aspects of this diversified micro-farm. However, what was once a grand challenge and noble adventure has become an ominous burden. Today Laughing Dog Farm needs more than we can give to it. And we so wish to see our good work here preserved, maintained and enhanced going forward. This unique homestead clearly needs and deserves new blood to help carry it into the next phase of history.
Due to extensive water damage, design flaws, and other intractable problems, our home, a large, anomalous, multi-story, (commune-built) house is scheduled to be torn down and re-built in 2022. It is our plan to create two autonomous but adjoining dwellings such that we might remain here on the land while another, younger family who intends to succeed us as farm stewards and perhaps owners into the future, moves in and begins taking up the reins. We are building a dynamic, efficient duplex that can accommodate this other couple (or family) who love the land and wish to create a home and life here while supporting the permaculture and micro-farming vision. It is our greatest wish to remain connected to the land into our old age, in a support, consulting and education role, but not necessarily to remain principal “owners” going forward.
We are hence now looking for such similarly ambitious and inspired (but younger) folks who’re actively pursuing a land-based, diversified farming vision. We believe this could be a valuable opportunity for the right one(s) who recognize the value and beauty of this mature micro-farm and are not deterred by the timeline and logistics of re-building the living structure over this coming (2022) year.
Terms of engagement (rental, lease, co-ownership, outright sale…) could be negotiable based upon the chemistry, vision, skills and integrity of the candidate(s). This is a tall order, we know, but also could be a UNIQUELY AMAZING situation for the right person or persons. It is our belief that such ambitious, but landless folks are out there looking, and we are determined to find the right fit.
Appropriate inquiries and/or networking efforts are welcomed. We look forward to speaking with potential candidates, perhaps brainstorming and showing you this incredible property.
Farm Manager/Co-owner, Laughing Dog Farm