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Small Farm Sustainability

What our farm has experienced over the year and a half has brought to light that some towns ordinances are not set up to support small farms even if the intent is to do so. This leads to great expense on the part of beginning and small farmers. Had I known what we would need to do to get a special exception I certainly would not have tried it. We want to take our story as an example and work with Scarborough and perhaps other towns in the future to craft ordinances that support small farms and green space over mass development. 

If you live in Scarborough - please write to your town councilor and let them know that you support small farm sustainability and changing ordinances so that more people can grow food and share it from their land. If you live outside of Scarborough - educate yourself on your own towns ordinances - its an ugly job. We’d be happy to share updated ordinance language or start a conversation about how we can help where you live too.

We will keep you updated on the progress right here, in our newsletter or on Facebook.

Xo

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WHATS BEEN GOING ON
To catch everyone up on what's been going on: a while back we applied for a commercial agriculture zoning exception from the town of Scarborough in an effort to run a small farm stand from the property, host a small class per month and allow the occasional local pick up of items purchased from our online shop.

We naively thought it wouldn't be a big deal to our neighbors, because people have absolutely loved our roadside farm stand in Summer's past, so many people have farm stands in suburban areas, and we have allowed pick ups for a while now with no complaints and without any measurable increase in traffic, always making sure people park on our grassy lot, not the street.

We naively thought it wouldn't be a big deal to our neighbors, because people have absolutely loved our roadside farm stand in Summer's past, so many people have farm stands in suburban areas, and we have allowed pick ups for a while now with no complaints and without any measurable increase in traffic, always making sure people park on our grassy lot, not the street.

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A few neighbors have been unsettled by the idea of having a farm so close to their homes. They feel that farms do not belong in a suburban area and that we should keep them outside of a residential area. Some letters to the town were hard to read, they were hurtful, and fueled by fear and misunderstanding. We did our best to answer as many questions and worries as we could, handing out pamphlets and inviting folks to an open house.

The town received many letters of support after we let everyone know what was happening, nevertheless, the town has not yet accepted our application for the exception. The discussion was tabled after a 5 hour zoom meeting that went well into the middle of the night. At this point we will not be allowed to operate any farm stand, allow pickups or have folks visit the farm. We are still hoping that the board will allow us to continue to farm and to have our very small team work the land.

SMALL FARMS ARE VITAL TO OUR SUSTAINABILITY & OUR TOWNS SHOULD WELCOME THEM.

Regardless of outcome, I will be working with town council members to update the ordinances in our town so that folks in our position can be considered accessory agriculture and not have to be pushed into the commercial agriculture bucket. This is really the change that will allow small farms to be sustainable in Scarborough. NO small farm or any farm should have to go through this time consuming, draining and costly process.

We will continue to update this group on next steps and how you can help the broader small farm sustainability work we’ve undertaken. Please join our facebook group and sign up for our newsletter to stay connected.
SUPPORT SMALL MAINE FARMS

please continue to share this story so we can correct this ordinance and make sure small farms and farms stands know they are valued & supported in our maine communities.
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This picture shows two letters to the editor after an article was written about Meeting House and our application for a zoning exception. We've been floored by how many letters and emails of support people have been sending to the town.

Below is a copy of the pamphlet that we handed out to our neighbors in an effort to answer questions and open the door for truthful dialogue, as well as invite them to an open house we hosted on our property in early June this year.

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