Unique Farming Opportunity in Eastern Massachusetts, Seeking Proposals from Qualified Candidates–PLEASE CIRCULATE

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Reprinted from Land for Good:

Crystal Spring Earth Learning Center is located in Plainville, MA. This special property has a rich history as a sanctuary for the Dominican Sisters of Peace. Since 1949 the resident Sisters have hosted educational, spiritual and agricultural activities on the 42-acre site.

With a commitment to sustainability and harmony, the Sisters seek a farming tenant who shares their commitment to revitalizing the land. The farmer or farm couple will be offered a long-term, affordable lease for about 12 acres of mostly open prime (Paxton and Canton) farm soils. Additional portions of the property are suited to pasture, perennial fruit and/or other tree crops. Thirty-two acres are protected and the property abuts Town conservation land. There is no active farming there now.

The farm portion is appropriate for a small-scale, diversified farm operation. Types of enterprises might include a CSA, permaculture, small livestock and/or poultry, demonstration or community gardens and agro-forestry. The location offers good access to markets and a supportive local community. There are several modest farm structures, plus access to water and electricity.

Various scenarios are possible, including a farmer providing compensated property management services and/or farm-related educational programs. The farmer(s) could live off-site or on the property in a charming, one bedroom refurbished cottage through a rental agreement.

Two Sisters will continue to live on the property which includes a large, historic main house, the small cottage, unique stone oratory and a seasonal cabin that has hosted educational and camp activities. They are also seeking compatible organizational tenants to co-occupy the main house along with Red Tomato, a nonprofit produce marketer that has been Crystal Spring Center’s anchor tenant since 2011.

Crystal Spring Center is soliciting proposals from qualified candidates. Applicants must provide evidence that they are creative, flexible, collaborative, business-like, and committed to sustainable practices, earth stewardship and local agriculture. The chosen farmer will demonstrate vision, farming experience, knowledge and compatibility with the other occupants and uses on the site.

There will be an open house on November 22. For more information, email kathy@landforgood.org.

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