Quick Update–Fall 2016

Job: Busy, challenging, rewarding!

RFP Deadline: Open-ended. Still seeking a way forward for new stewardship for the farm and land, but the overall effort is currently back-burnered due to the demands of the job. The right proposal could quickly bring it to the front burner and some types of transitions could be made quite quickly.

Make any offer you like…but please be aware that at this point, I’m most interested in some form of long-term partnership, lease, or crop share arrangement for the 3 farm parcels (Brown Barn, Tan House, and 10-A Farm Ground). Land ownership would remain as is or be transferred to some sort of trust. Day-to-day operations would be led by someone other than me. This moves the focus away from a potential collaborator/investor’s financial means, and focuses on their business, farm and ecosystem knowledge; diverse practical skills; appreciation of established longterm goals/values; and energy for running a complex farm operation and business.

Outright sale of either of the two residential parcels will be considered but must be sensitive to the functionality of the remaining farm real estate.

For all proposals, it is up to you to put a plan, price and terms on the table. Please do not ask me to do so. I’m evaluating overall packages, not cash offers; and only you know what total value you have to bring to the deal. Your knowledge, experience, skills, energy, creativity, etc. have value.

Farmhouse: Happily rented!

Stop wasting our time: The farm is in Kansas, in a well-populated area. Do not even bother to read the RFP or contact me about volunteering if you use marijuana or any other illegal drug. Illegal drug use is not allowed here. Period. Not for visitors, not for volunteers, not for potential partners/owners. Why is this so hard for folks to understand?

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UPDATE: Lots of news!

Visiting Pinwheel’s website for the first time? You’ll find a welcome here!

Looking for information about the farm’s transition process and Request for Proposals? Check out the opportunities here.

Curious what I’ve been up to lately? Read on!

NEW JOB! I’ve accepted a grant-based position with Seward County Community College. This will involve working from a home office most of the time, while also traveling to Liberal, KS, approximately monthly to work with colleagues, and traveling around the state to gather information. If your proposal involves me leaving the farm, this job will greatly facilitate such a transition. It will also facilitate the sale of the farmhouse separately from the rest of the farm.

NEW DEADLINE! To transition smoothly to this new work schedule, while also accommodating lambing, sheep shearing, spring planting, and the beginning of the Farmer’s Market season, I’m extending the deadline for proposal synopses to May 31, 2016.

NEW SHORT TERM HOUSING OPPORTUNITY! I’ll be renting the main floor of the farmhouse as a 3 bedroom, 1 bath “apartment” as soon as possible, ideally to someone(s) interested in helping to carry out basic farm operations during times I’m traveling for work. This will be on a month-to-month basis to allow flexibility for the transition. I’ll use the south room in the basement as my work office; the entry way and the rest of the basement will be shared between tenants and the farm. The farm will use the garage. Tenants will have sole use of the parking circle and the front yard.

NEW VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES! My hope is to achieve a healthy balance between the new job and the farm operation. If you’d like to trade your time and energy for training, hands-on experience, and farm products, let me know your interests. Gardening, building, lambing help, harvesting, chicken care, Farmer’s Market booth…there are many ways you can be involved, have fun, and learn.

My plan is to keep the farm moving ahead according to my long-established plans until a transition plan is put in place. So planting, lambing, Sheep Shearing Open Farm Day, Farmer’s Market,  and other marketing events and production activities will happen as usual.

NEW IMPROVEMENTS! Since posting the initial RFP, a lot of work has been done on the residences:

  • 1480 N. 1700 Rd. is finally back on a residential electric service rate–significant cost savings!
  • The kitchen counter tile has been re-grouted and sealed; new faucet; area under sink totally rebuilt, lined with tile-board, and caulked; dishwasher installed.
  • The utility sink and cabinet have been reinstalled in the laundry room.
  • A built-in ironing board unit has been installed in the laundry room.
  • Carpet has been laid in the south finished room (“office”) in the basement.
  • At 501 North St., the fascia board has been replaced, and new guttering hung.

NEW LIVESTOCK! Waldo the black llama gelding is hanging out with the sheep. He’s much friendlier than our previous guardian llamas, and his fur is very long and soft. He’ll be shorn in June. We also have two bottle lambs that will be nice additions to the breeding flock. A ewe I sold to friends several years ago had quadruplets, and I’m bottle-feeding a ewe and a ram that will bring that prolific genetics…and a nice outcross with purebred Gulf Coast Native (parasite tolerant)–to the Pinwheel flock.

NEW FENCES AND GATES! And many other improvements around the farm. I’ve had some great WWOOFers staying here during the winter, and the mild season has allowed a lot of outdoor work.

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Pinwheel Farm began as a dream–first the fantasy of a tiny cabin in the woods, raising sheep and spinning yarn…various revisions over the years…then much later a roughly sketched business plan for a 20 acre vegetable farm as a class project. You probably have a dream like that floating around somewhere, too. For me, the barrier always seemed to be affording the land.

Then the land appeared, almost effortlessly, and Pinwheel Farm was begun.

The land is here, some of the very best agricultural soil anywhere, in an outstanding location, with unlimited groundwater and a great growing climate. After years of hard work, financial input, and sweat equity, most of the real estate has been “ransomed” from the conventional financial system. This gives me a great deal of flexibility in how I choose to pass it on to others.

It’s time for my relationship with Pinwheel to change. Does this place fit your dream? It could become yours–to use, to lease, even perhaps to own. The cost to you will not be calculated just in dollars, but based on the whole package that you can bring to the farm–tools, skills, sweat equity, etc. Can you believe it? Are you ready and able to take advantage of this rare and unusual opportunity?

Tell me your dream, and how it fits my farm. Write a proposal…initially, a brief synopsis, as simple or as detailed as you like; the nitty gritty can come in due time. Make a proposal for whatever parts and parcels of Pinwheel Farm you’d like to include in your dream. Seriously. I’m listening.

Browse this website thoroughly to learn more about Pinwheel Farm and about this amazing opportunity to continue its 20 year legacy. Keep checking back as I update this website, create an email list dedicated to this succession project, etc. Contact me with any questions you may have. I’ll answer most questions publicly, so that everyone interested has the same information.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me and the farm over the past 20 years. It’s been amazing, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Pinwheel will grow with new energy and input!

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Pinwheel Farm supplies non-irrigated vegetables and other horticultural crops, forage-fed lamb meat, poultry, and wool products to our community through on-farm sales, the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market, and locally owned restaurants.

Our mission is to help people to live simply, sustainably, and spiritually as part of the Earth’s Community of Life by developing, modeling and teaching innovative alternatives to conventional input-dependent agriculture and consumerist lifestyles and economies.

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