Your question presupposes that we're taking on an external authority's definition of organic, and that enough young people will be interested to make the organic farm a reality. I think most farming is about works best with specific land working with the climate. As prospective continuing residents we want an organic farm, for our own consumption and income needs. If young people are interested then we'd be more than happy for them to be involved. There's no doubt that there's an opportunity for a School Corporation, if students wanted to take it that far. We'd like to think there will be enough others interested to assist with the organic farm, but if not, that's okay too. We do want to make sure it's "viable" operating business that derives income from supply, perhaps to the School / Democratic Centre of Learning, to residents and to the public, through a Farm Shop and direct to retailers on the Range or through local Farmers' Markets.
I am late to the party but I have a suggestion: rather than take on an external entity’s definition of organic farming, how about the kids learn and figure out what works for them, the land and the climate?
[I’ve never before mailed to this alias but I am a farmer and I did live in Australia.]
A group of people has been meeting to further plans debated and decided by The Booroobin School. These mostly informal meetings started in mid 2006.
These plans include:
the purchase of land;
building loft style residential accommodation in separate living units with small footprints connected by covered walkways for 5 to 7 people / families as part of an exploded house with an aim, in Australian terms, of providing reasonable, affordable housing;
developing the land, including purchasing necessary equipment and building dams and sporting facilities;
establishing or continuing a diverse organic farm;
building facilities for a democratic Sudbury model centre of learning, utilising some existing resources, that could then become an accredited School for young people aged from 4 to approximately 19 years;
establishing ethical enterprises, including especially arts and crafts enterprises;
depending on the location of the land, building a cafe and gallery, as an interface for the public, centre of learning, farm and residents alike; and
managing and improving the environment without chemicals, weeding it and planting indigenous species.
The land selected as the site for The Booroobin School is still favoured. The owners want to sell. This land comprises 16.42ha (40 acres) of a highland valley in the Sunshine Coast hinterland of south east Queensland, Australia, with views, good soil, good rainfall, an almost main road frontage, proximity to a town, beaches and State forests and National Parks and 1.5 hours to the State capital with international and domestic airports. The site has its issues, lots of opportunities and we know it well. However, we are also open to consideration of another site.
We are seeking people who especially know, understand and have a passion for the democratic Sudbury model. Graduates of Sudbury model schools would be welcome, even if for limited periods, although long term involvement is preferred. We need maturity, experience as well as youth, vigor and energy, but most of all, commitment, time, energy and dare I say it, money. Apart from our family's accommodation, we have separate accommodation of about 270 sq ft, comprising 2 main rooms and an entrance / hallway.
A Constitution for a new Democratic Centre of Learning based on Sudbury has been drafted. A Constitution for a residential company limited by shares has also been drafted.
We would be interested to hear from people who want to be part of this challenge.
Regards, Derek Sheppard Skerman Lane, Booroobin Qld AUS 4552