We bought the farm!
In 2020, thanks to the generosity of a few BHHT Donors, the Trust purchased one of the last pieces of organic farmland in Blue Hill Village. This small but beautiful farm, located near the Blue Hill Fair grounds, has been stewarded by former owners Scott Howell and Sara Bushmann for over 20 years, and when they were ready to move along from farming life they reached out to BHHT hoping the Trust could protect it. This farm’s history goes back much further than Scott and Sara however, as even former BHHT board member and local farmer Dennis King once farmed this land alongside previous owner Jean Hay. Now owned by BHHT, we knew we wanted to find someone to use this land to do something innovative, supportive of our local farms, climate friendly, and very community minded.
Jo Barrett, formerly of King Hill Farm and Land For Good, volunteered her time, expertise, and contacts with the New England wide farming community to help the trust establish our values and goals for the farm and find candidates for this exciting opportunity. Once we found the right farmer for the job, Jo also helped create a comprehensive agricultural lease template and is remaining involved to help guide both parties in its use, working to strengthen the relationship between the Trust and Bill’s enterprise through a mutually beneficial agreement.
Meet Bill Giordano! Bill, a PhD candidate with the University of Maine, has several ties to the Blue Hill Peninsula and has worked on and with several wonderful farms in our community. He submitted a proposal to BHHT in the spring and we are pleased to be working with him on his exciting and ambitious project at the farm.
Stay tuned for more information on Bill’s plans. To reach out to him directly with questions or to find out how you can support his efforts please contact him directly at: email@example.com
We are so grateful to the Anahata Foundation, Larry Flood & Tyler Knowles, and the Becton Family Foundation for their support in protecting this wonderful property, and to Jo Barrett for her time and effort in this project.
More About Bill’s Vision and the Project:
Meet Bill Giordano! Bill first moved to the Peninsula in 2008 to help Tim Semler and Lydia Moffet build and operate Tinder Hearth in West Brooksville. He worked closely with Lake Larsson in her gardens and eventually mentored under Eliot Coleman to grow vegetables at Larsson’s “Valley of the Stars Farm” in 2013. He and his partner Bethany are expecting their first child at the end of October and plan to relocate to the area next year.
Bill’s vision is threefold – a working farm, an agriculture, arts & design business incubator program, and summer season performing arts and storytelling programming. A primary goal is creating opportunities for regional talent to develop – especially for young folks who’d like to build careers on the Peninsula – and improving access to the tools they need to succeed. He believes that local food and supporting the sovereignty and entrepreneurship of Wabanaki peoples are some of the most important parts of that work.
He’s work is building on his past food economy experience at Tinder Hearth, and with Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association related farms, as well as recent greenhouse technology design and research with Maine Sustainable Agriculture Society. This past year, he’s be developing a place-based arts incubator program called IGNITE with creative development organization Engine in downtown Biddeford. His research across arts and food industries is part of a program of study as a University of Maine Doctoral Fellow through their Interdisciplinary PhD Program. Bill recently led undergraduate courses through USM’s USM’s Food Studies Program including “Introduction to Maine’s Food System; a 1,000 Year Survey” that focused on Wabanaki food year and food systems legacies in modern food policy, as well as “Entrepreneurship and the Business of Food” as part He’s also an active member of the Maine music scene through acts such as Bridge Isabella and Angelikah Fahray.
Tilth has a growing advisory team who are developing arts programming for next summer, that includes musician Ross Gallagher – originally from East Blue Hill – and educator and photographer Savanna Pettengil.
Inquiries about the project can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider registering for a upcoming BHHT webinar on DATE TBA for a presentation about Bill’s greenhouse technology and food security research on Maine farms.
Read Bill’s Statement below:
“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to work with BHHT and all connected folks throughout the Peninsula and Islands on a project called Tilth Arts and Agriculture. It was on the Blue Hill Peninsula that I became aware of the amazing privilege of living and working in unceded Wabanaki lands as a settler. The challenges and the unhealed grief that has happened here – and in many ways is still happening – is palpable. The 10,000 year history of Wabanaki excellence is everywhere but the role of settler communities to honor treaties and consider our impact is harder to find than Cape Rosier’s Callahan Mine. But so are the instances of celebration, praise and meaningful opportunities for healing with and through our relationship to place – examining the roles and responsibilities of settlers and settler descendants in today’s society. And while settler culture – even our most glowing examples of sustainable agriculture and fisheries – are often remiss at supporting indigenous sovereignty, more settlers and settler descendants are showing up to ask how to do better? And how can we work harder to heal the grief that remains while following in the lead of and showing up for Wabanaki land and water stewards when and where it counts?
And yet, the work of feeding people with local and regional resources is exemplary here and throughout Hancock County. Settler businesses like Quill’s End Farm, Tinder Hearth, King Hill Farm, Horsepower Farm, Four Season Farm, Halcyon Grange and 44 North Coffee are beacons of hope for a viable economy and maintain a legacy of regional food culture. They along with cultural stalwarts like the Blue Hill Fair, WERU, Hancock County 4-H, and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts are here amongst new organizational efforts seeking new dialogues such as Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective, Agrarian Trust, and UMaine’s Wabanaki Youth Science (WaYS) Program.
It is with this goal of socio-economic and cross cultural weaving that I’m working to build a team that brings Tilth Arts and Agriculture to fruit. Tilth (for short) is vision for a place of cultural mixing, of deep listening to each other with and through food, flowers, arts events, entrepreneurship and technology, and to examine our current and past biases and failures and to reach deep into available wisdom traditions to ask… how we may do better? Please plug in, reach out, show up and let us know your area of skill and interest.”