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Unity Agricultural Center A WORKING BIODYNAMIC FARM




NEFA is excited to announce that we’ll be keeping 550 acres of farmland, woods and barns conserved before in biodynamic production for years to come at our latest endeavor: the Unity Agricultural Center The farm’s promise—beautiful, centrally located, adaptable—is not just with the farmers who will work the land, but what it offers as a biodynamic Agricultural Center. Taking a holistic approach, UAC will bring together farmers, educators, artists, and the community to revitalize land that is historic and necessary. By offering secure, long-term leases, UAC solves the biggest hurdle to sustainable organic growing: getting new farmers onto affordable land. And by implementing biodynamic practices, UAC will be an ecologically integrated farm, from its livestock to its soil fertility, from the stewardship of the land to the inclusion of its neighboring community. UNITY, MAINE Located equidistant between Bangor and Augusta, Waterville and Belfast, Unity is steeped in cultural, agricultural, and academic activities, and is home to a thriving Amish community. UAC will be in close proximity to Unity College, whose educational mission is to solve the world’s most pressing environmental problems. Adjacent to the farm is the renowned Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, offering farm and marketing training to local farmers, and which draws 60,000 visitors to its annual fair. BIODYNAMIC FARMING Biodynamic farmers seek to balance wild and domestic species through the cycles and seasons of fertility. On one integrated farm, pasturing animals produce beneficial compost that, in turn, helps the soil for more bountiful crops that feed people and animals. Unity Agricultural Center is graced with abundant mixed hardwood forests and undergrowth, healthy pastures of diverse grasses, forbs and wildflowers rooted in some of the best agricultural soils in the region. Transited by Mussey Brook and bounded by everflowing Sandy Stream, the land awaits the next generation of farming enterprises ready to participate in the social and cultural renewal that is biodynamic agriculture. This land would welcome a micro dairy of goats and cows, berries, vegetable crops, orchards, mushrooms, forest products, flowers, perennial shrubs and tree nursery, each of which provides a unique benefit to the biodynamic cycle.


Peter Brady &

BOWSPRIT THE BOWSPRIT FOUNDATION FOUNDATPeter Brady & Graziella Cervi The Foundation is a newly forming non-profit whose mission is to help local youth and young adults to chart their course in life. Bowsprit will coordinate with visiting craft-masters and farm businesses and run 2-3-week seasonal intensives for 8 to 10 young people who will be immersed in the daily farm and studio-craft schedule at the Center. They will raise fruits and vegetables, livestock for milk, cheese, eggs and meat, and sustainably harvest building timber and firewood from the forest. The bakery at the farm will use locally grown grains and students will have an opportunity to bake and share bread.


Peter Brady & Graziella Cervi

Operating as BeeTree Farm, founding farmers Peter Brady and Graziella Cervi will grow vegetables and strawberries and collaborate with the projected livestock operation. Their life’s work combines biodynamic agriculture and the practical arts as a healing setting for mentoring youth and young adults, giving the Center its economic-social-spiritual foundation. Bowsprit, a non-profit organization, will manage the farm’s life-skills training programs.


Peter Brady & Graziella Cervi

Fifteen minutes from Unity in Montville is Veronesi Farm, currently owned and forest-farmed by Peter Brady and Graziella Cervi’s family. Future plans include continuing the extraordinary forest stewardship legacy of Eddie Veronesi through sustainable forestry internships for Bowsprit students; and research and study programs for college forestry programs. Elwell Farm and Veronesi Farm are linked by the “Hills to Sea Trail” which runs between Unity and Belfast.


Barbara Booth

Barbara Booth is in the planning phase of bringing her vision of a Honeybee-Lightroot Sanctuary to the Unity property. Through landscape conservation and plantings, establishing a protected apiary, and holding educational events, the Sanctuary promises to further the Center’s efforts to build resilient biomes. 4


Sunniva Brady

WoodSong is an organic goat dairy that works a herd of Saanen/Alpine/Nubian crosses to produce dairy such as chevre, yogurt, and kiefer, which are sold in a variety of flavors on the farm, along with plain, raw milk. The goats are fed on grass in the summer and hay in the winter; milking does are fed an additional diet of organic grains to support their lactation with extra protein. Born to farming parents who taught her the art of living in harmony with her fellow animals, owner-operator Sunniva Brady has been working with farm animals since she was five years old.

“Using the biodynamic farm as the foundation for learning, the Bowsprit Foundation at the Center will provide opportunities for young people to have meaningful and productive work and life experiences within a vibrant and healing social context.” —Bowsprit Foundation Mission Statement




The Ecology Learning Center

Elwell Farm is bordered by over a mile of frontage along Sandy Stream, and Mussey Brook runs through the central fields. The farm offers public access via Waldo Co. Trails Coalition “Hills-to-Sea Trail” and the “Snow Dusters” snowmobile trail. The original brick farmhouse has a small attached barn/shop. Across the lane sits a 200’ long dairy barn, heifer barn and associated structures. The farm includes 130 acres of high open fields and pasture and 390 acres of woodland, and is situated on well-drained, gently rolling hills that supported a successful dairy operation for many years. In addition to hay and forage, the fields have produced beans, sweet corn, feed corn and potatoes. Approximately 44% of the property contains Farmland Soils of Statewide Importance, including large amounts of excellent Adams and Dixmont series soils. Incoming farmers will include diversified operations featuring Pick-Your-Own strawberries, vegetables, livestock, cheese-making and a farm-based nonprofit initiative for local youth and young adults. Planned capital improvements include renovations to the original brick farmhouse, a central common building with guest accommodations, three farmer homes and seasonal visitor cabins. All new structures will model environmentally-sound, affordable building practices. ECOLOGY LEARNING CENTER The next prospect for UAC is the Ecology Learning Center (ELC), an independent high school, whose mission is to foster authentic learning through mentorship and craft, cultivating compassionate and resilient leaders. Rooted in Maine’s ecological 6

and cultural landscape, this school prepares students to engage in the challenges of today and tomorrow.

A SOCIAL INVESTMENT Socially Responsible Investing is a strategy that considers both financial return and social/environmental good. The movement has grown rapidly in recent years, with investors demanding transparency and seeking out companies and investment vehicles that create positive social impacts. The Center is currently raising $750,000 of its initial round of funding of $1,250,00 to purchase the 480-acre Elwell Farm, and adjacent 70-acre parcel, with the balance for capital improvements raised thereafter. We plan to purchase the farm this Fall, as funds are available this year.

Sources & Uses of Funds Sources: Class A Membership Units Class B Membership Units Supporter Loans Maine Farmland Trust

$250,000 $250,000 $227,000 $185,000

Total Sources:


Uses: Predevelopment Expense Purchase Price Legal; LLC Establishment Closing Costs NEFA Development Fees Working Capital

$ 10,000 $ 775,000 $ 12,750 $ 10,000 $ 54,250 $ 50,000

Total Uses:


For more information, contact: Graziella Cervi, UAC Co-Manager Barbara Booth, UAC Co-Manager Bob Bernstein, NEFA Managing Director 7

NORTHEAST FARM ACCESS LLC (NEFA) Northeast Farm Access, LLC, brings together farmers, social investors and local allies, especially conservation land trusts, to revive and transform sustainable agriculture—yielding not just abundant clean, local food, but also a new generation of successful organic farmers. Our innovative projects create long-term access to farmland and food while also growing farmer and investor equity. With social investor participation, we buy land, transition it to organic, and lease it long-term and affordably to experienced farmers. The Unity Agricultural Center, LLC is being developed by Northeast Farm Access, LLC (NEFA), a team that has established 5 agricultural centers across the Northeast. NEFA will serve as the UAC’s manager and focus on the Center’s collaborative aspects. NEFA personnel have extensive experience in community-based economic development involving farmland planning, co-located agricultural operations, finance, accounting and construction.


Profile for Northeast Farm Access

Unity Agricultural Center: A Working Biodynamic Farm  

A look at the Unity Agricultural Center, NEFA's fifth agricultural center. Established to keep farmland in equitable, Biodynamic production,...

Unity Agricultural Center: A Working Biodynamic Farm  

A look at the Unity Agricultural Center, NEFA's fifth agricultural center. Established to keep farmland in equitable, Biodynamic production,...