The Common Hands Farm Project is a multifaceted initiative which is dedicated to addressing local food security while developing greater self-awareness and ecological consciousness through its educational curriculum and peer-led design training. Our purpose is inspired by the principles of permaculture, biodynamics, regenerative community systems, and local renewable energy.
We grow to support a local CSA, restaurants, catering companies, wholesale and local Farmer’s Markets in the Hudson Valley and extending down into the city.
While producing healthy and nutritious food for the surrounding community, young people can discover themselves as key players in a new economic framework. Through engaged farm work, young people can evolve and cultivate a deeper connection to their bodies, their work, their communities, and the force that sustains all life. We hope our work enables us to emerge as pioneers in a marketplace that values regenerative design and sustainability.
We hope to learn more about this method and apply it more deeply in the coming years. Biodynamic farming incorporates a view of the soil, the farm as a whole, the workers, and the consumers, as living organisms, regarding maintenance of soil life as a basic necessity. Healthy, dynamic soil enables the growth of nutrient-rich high-quality crops.
Some of these methods to maintain soil include: 1) applying sufficient organic manure and compost in the best possible state of fermentation and green manure 2) proper crop rotation, soil prep and cover-cropping 3) protective measures such as wind protection 4) maintaining biodiversity and mixed cropping (or companion planting) so that plants can aid and support each other.
In many of these regards biodynamic agriculture is similar to Permaculture. What is significantly different is the spiritual advice that was given to farmers by Rudolf Steiner. Steiner has left behind specific rituals about planting with the moon, for example.
Permaculture and Social Three-Folding
We are interested in employing an innovative social model that engages all participants and volunteers on our farm. This method was born out of an idea born from Rudolf Steiner in 1923, and has since been proposed in many different forms by other social thinkers. This idea is called Social Threefold. Social Threefolding attempts to create a synergy, a dynamic interplay between the balance of these three categories of social activity; economics, politics/rights/laws, and culture.
The foundation of our program and curriculum mimics both social three-folding and permaculture principles. The three main principles of Permaculture are: Earth Care, People/Self Care, and Future/Resource Care.
Through this progression of topics and course-learning, participants will begin to come to an understanding of their role as individuals in relation to both the earth that sustains them and the community that supports them.
Through lectures, workshops, direct experience, skill-share, and peer facilitated sessions, individuals will come to understand how their unique knowledge base contributes to the group. This kind of project will advance the creativity and concentrated effort required by youth today to begin transforming old and worn out methods of establishing and sustaining our communities, as well as encourage authentic and cooperative working relationships among individuals.