Our newsletter, The Beacon, supports our work on the farm including ministering to families, extending hospitality, and offering education in rural life skills. We also minister through orphan care and adoption.
Each issue includes farm and ministry updates as well as ideas for living more fully a life centered around your family and rooted in the Gospel. We will also share with you some thoughts about family life, building up your local parish, evangelizing your community, as well as inspiration from Church documents, lives of the saints, and writings of Catholic spiritual leaders.
Each issue also includes at least one recipe from our own kitchen and special offers that can be used in our shop – online or in person.
Just 5000 subscriptions to The Beacon cover all of our operating needs each year.
Drought Recovery: Lavender
In 2016 we saw the realization of a lifelong dream of becoming lavender farmers. But that same summer saw a historic drought here in the Northeast. That coupled with a vital piece of farm equipment being out of commission much longer than anticipated and we lost most of those plants.
In 2018, we hope to re-order all of the plants we need to fill our field and to have enough in reserves to pay some local folks to help us get them quickly into the ground.
The lavender fields are a major part of our farm plan. The proceeds from sales of lavender products will sustain us for at least 20 years as well as help us to grow our ministry to families, to orphans, and to those wishing to learn more about permaculture and self-sufficiency.
Permaculture: Zone One
We will be replacing the degraded siding, re-building the porch, creating gardens around the house that combine ornamental and edible plants, a small family orchard, a natural play space, and an outdoor kitchen. We will be building a specially designed rocket stove, installing a patio and pergola, gates, and hedgerow. Wherever possible, we will utilize materials sourced here on our farm and from the community waste stream.
Your gift does double duty – it helps defray the cost of supplies and materials but it also provides scholarships for students who are interested in a hands-on learning experience. Instruction will include identification and uses of various plants in the landscape, presentation and explanation of various appropriate technologies and alternative building techniques.
After the initial installation, the Zone One project will provide ongoing education and demonstration.
Pastured Chickens for Eggs and Meat
At Renaissance Farms, we prefer to raise chickens and fowl on grass and with as much freedom as possible. We choose to use a mobile chicken house rather than the currently popular chicken tractor. We will be building chicken houses that will be used to shelter layers and meat birds. Most materials will be sourced from the community waste stream including pallets, corrugated metal, old camper frames, etc. We will be purchasing sufficient numbers of heritage breed chickens to supply ourselves and our customers with pastured eggs and quality pastured meat.
Your gift does double duty – it helps defray the cost of supplies and materials but it also provides scholarships for up to 15 students who are interested in a hands-on learning experience. Instruction will include plans and construction of a chicken house, fencing, protection, location, chicken care, and egg handling.
After the initial installation, the Pastured Chicken project will provide ongoing education and demonstration.
Market Garden I
We will be constructing a 1.5 acre French-style parterre market garden that will provide food for the farm and for our customers. We will be constructing two high tunnels for season extension, perimeter hedgerow, creating access paths, planting beds, trellis, an emergency water storage and irrigation system, pallet shed for storing tools, gates, and cold frames. Wherever possible, we will utilize materials sourced here on our farm and from the community waste stream.
Your gift does double duty – it helps defray the cost of supplies and materials but it also provides scholarships for students who are interested in a hands-on learning experience. We will begin with a thorough review of the 1.5 acre site plan design and explain the rationale behind planting patterns and plant choices.
After the initial installation, the Market Garden I project will provide ongoing education and demonstration.
GREAT NEWS! We have been awarded a grant to cover most of the cost of our first high tunnel!
When we bought this farm in the spring of 2011, it was considered by many people to be a ‘tear down’. Three separate contractors confirmed that it had great bones, and so we set out to save it. So far, between the purchase and initial restorations which included heat, electricity, insulation, new windows, walls, floors, bathrooms and kitchen, and sill work we have spent well over a half million dollars.
We still need to finish three bedrooms and a bathroom in the main part of the house, install showers in the other two bathrooms, and complete renovations in the attached carriage house that will give us vital space for our schoolroom, office, workshop, and guest accommodation.
The siding needs to be completely replaced, as does the porch that was demolished shortly after we purchased the farm. This will help close up and protect all of the work we have already done inside. It will also present a warm and welcoming face to guests who come to learn or to visit.
Our home not only shelters and comforts our family, but it is our means of extending hospitality to our community, and to those in need especially orphans. It is the heart of our farm and ministry.