Here's a few of the iconic forests, wetlands, and rolling hills we are trying to prevent from being sacrificed to large developers by forming the We Are Mother Earth Real Estate Cooperative.
RickeyFarm - Vernon, NJ
Shared Vision of a Community Mission—
"The goal is to payoff all the debt. No mortgages means the property can never be put in danger.... So It Will Be Preserved For The Community At Large, Forever." - Jamie Rickey
William J. “Jamie” Rickey, Director of RickeyFarm Ministries and owner/operator of RickeyFarm grew up in a community service based home. The Rickey family has been woven into the community since settling this farm property in the late 1700’s. In the last two generations, Jamie’s father was a Special Police Officer, Volunteer Fireman and Court Bailiff. Following in his footsteps, Jamie was a longtime member of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service and served as a Commissioned District Fire Warden for seven years, NJFFS “A-23” Wildland Fire Engine found its home and Headquarters at RickeyFarm. Jamie Rickey is also pastVice President of the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, former member of the Vernon Township Environmental Committee, as well he also ran campaigns for Town Council and the historic election of Vernon’s Township’s 1 st Elected Mayor.
RickeyFarm has a vast history and much community support behind it. Being settling on or around 1769, with the Revolutionary War looming, was the setup for RickeyFarm to become a prevalent part of history. The original settlers and first generation of this family farm, John and Abigail Barton Hinchman, received the original +/- 600 acre property from Abigail’s father, Joseph Barton, as a wedding gift in 1769. Unlike Joseph Barton, a staunch British Loyalist to the end, John and Abigail Hinchman are both listed patriots in DAR (Daughters of The American Revolution) and SAR (Sons of The American Revolution) published records. John Hinchman, son of Vernon’s first doctor, served as a surgeon in The Revolutionary War. Abigail Hinchman fed Washington’s troops as they were encamped here on the Hinchman Farm in-route from Newburg to Morristown. The account includes an inventory of the animals that were slaughtered Abigail is even more famous for hiding a revolutionary hero from the British Tories who were chasing him, in a barrel covered with flax seed, while those British Tories had dinner at her table. During a recent survey back in 2003 a discrepancy was exposed, a 20 acre discrepancy. The Hinchman homestead was within the immediate area around the current Rickey homestead. The existing 1850’s homestead was the replacement home for the Hinchman “mansion”, as it was called in the 1800 estate of John Hinchman. So the family story passed down that George Washington addressed his troops from standing on a rock that still remains less than a foot away from the pavement at the northern end of the farmhouse driveway, is most likely true. Family members and State Highway crewman remember many times when “Grandma Rickey” would remind the state highway maintenance crews that they “Could not remove that rock because George Washington stood there and addressed his troops.”
The main farm house on the property is fully furnished, decorated and equipped with a near complete collection of the family’s antique belongings and has immense historical value. The property is slated to become a “Farm Family Life Museum” is to be shifted into a foundation or non-profit to preserve the historical value of the structure and collection. The entire house has been sorted and is ready for curating. The next step will be inventory and appraisal, if the family can keep it. Also, this Seventh Generation Family Farm has been home to countless events, many have purely on a non-profit basis and/or community fund raising money for a family who has been raising money for others for over 20 years now.
We are transitioning from just organic, to sustainable agriculture (permaculture). Produce will include food and medicinal crops such as garden variety vegetables, fruits, greens including watercress, mushrooms, and other delicious, nutritious staples and delicacies.
Last year Jamie Rickey received a gem of spiritual guidance. He was introduced to the possibilities of tapping sugar maple trees. After declaring that 2016 would usher in a return to food production, we took this advice and in January started tapping trees on the property. Ever since, there has been an ongoing project that has now yielded the most delicious and nutritious Maple Water, Maple Syrup, Maple Butter & Maple Sugar. These maple products have been noted to have an extra special quality, which Jamie calls "Maple Plus."
The current venue accommodates up to 5,000 people with parking for 1,000 cars and can be arranged to meet the needs of small, midsize and large events such as music festivals, weddings, fundraisers, workshops, scouting and educational events.
The 15-20 wooded acres beyond the main event fields, is nestled at the base of Wawayanda Mountain. It provides a beautiful campground under the natural canopy of a diverse healthy forest. 2015 was the inaugural season for woods camping and The Forest Stage. The layout includes a seperate production road to avoid conflict between production and attendees. Management of this gem is ongoing and agroforestry is underway.
The Appalachian Trail
This famous resource has experienced a huge increase of usage in the past few years. Day trippers and through-hikers alike pass alongside RickeyFarm as they traverse up or down the 1000 ft. vertical mountain face known as "The Stairway To Heaven." A newly found advantage from the large volume of hikers is "work-for-stay." Through-hikers willingly share their experience and labor with us as we share our knowledge and sanctuary with them, creating many treasured moments.
The second floor of the main barn is currently used for retail sales of our farm products and used goods including, clothing, antiques, furniture, art and more that have either been donated or are no longer needed by us. We believe that reuse is key to eliminating waste. These goods are also distributed to those in need at low or no cost.
In the future look forward to...
Farm-Market Deli & Cafe
The Skate Park
Expanded Agricultural Production
Fresh Spring Water
Expanded Arts and Education Programs
Shared Vision of a Community Mission—
“The goal is to fulfill the legacy of Bill Henry, who bought the land ‘For the Movement’ (specifically referring to nonviolent activists) to have access to nature and to be able to build cooperative structures to support a sustainable community which is consistent and principled.”
Already sporting 9 chickens (2 roosters modeling yang harmonics) and a turken, a large South field and restored North fields. Bill retains a sense of personal attachment to the first enclosed garlic box garden, but all other spaces aside from the actual wetlands are available and may be plotted as greenhouse sites, ponds, orchards, vegetable rows or other installations.
The Unlearning Center
After a year-long hiatus, the UC will be in full operation with efforts to optimize use of the main barn space for any member of our growing collective to host events, workshops and make optimal use of the calendar. Utilizing all outlying buildings and the basement through community engagement and discussion, we hope to model that best shared resource model through organized studio, meeting, healing, reading, working, and other uses of the same spaces. Focusing primarily on use of the upstairs library, room and workstations to make a relevant experience possible for researchers in the space, separated by time, to participate in shared comprehension of the significant. We will seek to gather donations in the form of member-requested books, periodicals and zines. We seek to improve the facilities (completed walls, smart lighting, solar power/internal grid, flooring) as well as to confirm every book is stamped and in an easily discernable category. Signage and use of the (finished) wall spaces as gallery for Arc 38 artists, activism, historic or topic-based displays and more.
Group Growing Mushroom Collective
Group Growing is managing that land (North Barn + basement) and using it for agricultural production of Oyster, Lions Mane, Shiitake and Reishi mushroom production to qualify for tax exemption and establish sustainable agriculture.
Café, Farmstand, services for train riders, bicyclists & More
Our location has yet to be optimized, given there is actual frequent traffic of possible customers at the train station. Permits to sell on our own take 1 year and a half to process, but we can put an application into the MTA soon with a clear enough proposal. Dehydrated veggies, sprouts, smoothies, teas, fresh fruit and vegetables are among what we could offer as early as Summer, 2016. Use of spaces along Old Rte 22, including use of previous farmstand sites, or the North Barn, given community optimization and coordination to make accessible a space for us to house our wares, including non-farm items (upcycled donations, original media, clothes, books, hand-made crafts, herbal tinctures, tea packs and more).
By promoting regional sustainability initiatives. Host discussions which set up inter-community goals and means of addressing locally specified situations, imbalances or being able to best consider future cooperative opportunities. This may entail getting explicitly religious, political, racial, sexual, philosophical and otherwise “real” as well as the institutions (501c4?) which may prove necessary to address the forthcoming possibilities so that agents in residence at Arc38 can achieve regional and global goals in tandem with other change agents around the world.
All causes are connected and in traveling from community to community city to city we will help connect people and in working together we are stronger than working separate for all these causes all people working hard to make this world a better place for us all and all the generations to come, that's the main goal in my own words for the caravan for a cause.
Early Education Center
A yurt or similar temporary structure to accompany the veggie/solar bus as a space for workshops, daycare and everything in between…. perhaps out in the main South field, with spaces left for parking and access to all fields and agricultural installations.
Non-Violent Communication + Dynamic Governance
Bringing teachers, mentors, trainers to educate the community, as well as any local residents interested in attending, to learn NVC and Dynamic Governance in action. This can be hosted either on the land, or in a private home nearby, or in a public building. These two courses can be customized to meet our specific needs as a community.