Viewpoints: Update on the Old Stone Barn project

  • The Old Stone Barn in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Old Stone Barn in Peterborough. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Published: 9/22/2019 7:40:56 PM

I begin this update by expressing my gratitude for the multiplicity of ways that this community has offered hope, inspiration, support and resources for the development of my vision for the Village at Stone Barn.

The project was born out of a deepening understanding that the ‘solutions to climate change’ (if there ever were to be such a thing) would mainly come from the relationships between humans and nature. How much do we care to listen to the wind? How much do we dare to climb to the peak of the mountain and see, truly see, the heritage this place has gifted us? Where are we blind to the abundance this landscape offers? How much longer can we keep asking for salvation without bearing witness to Truth that comes from drinking waters, icy cold, that come from this Earth?

What has since become clear to me is that there is no difference between the choosing a high quality of food to eat and reversing climate change by practicing techniques from the budding field of regenerative agriculture. Good food solves climate change. And, the good news is - we happen to live in a place with a rich history of agriculture; farming, stewarding the landscape in community, working with our hands, feeling the Earth beneath our feet is our birthright in this Place.

And, it is entirely possible that we can reverse climate change (aka: stabilize Earth’s water cycle) by building innovative, dynamic, healthy relationships to the landscape through farming for food, fiber and energy production. 

The opportunity use agriculture as a means to reverse global warming while addressing systemic injustices of our interwoven heritage is also profound. Immense. Worth doing.

Since Fall 2018, when we launched our project with a well-attended soiree, we have created near-final construction documents, worked with builders to understand costs/timelines and challenges to the site. We have marketed the project, seen much interest from the community, and watched the potential for this project to come together in the way that it was initially envisioned.

Concurrently, we began to understand that the costs of construction would be higher than initially anticipated and were unwilling to price all of the units at a level completely inaccessible to most families in the region. Thus, we have begun the process of redesigning the financials of the project to offer a variety of housing options that work for all income levels. This is called mixed-income housing. It offers eco-lux in the old Stone Barn and throughout the Village, for those who can afford it, and want to help see the project move forward. And then it helps keep costs lower for others who want to be onsite but do not have the capacity to afford high-priced housing. We think the solutions to climate change (for which this project is offered as a pilot) must be approachable to all people. Not just the wealthy. And, we have got to start to understand that financial wealth is only one form of wealth: currency. Social, ecological, physical, contextual currencies, matter. How we show up for each other, create right-relationship with each other, and reinforce systems of healing: regeneration, are what matters. So, we offer a way forward for the Village at Stone Barn that reflects that while some units are available to those who can write a multi-million dollar check for housing that help reduce the cost for others, are also being subsidized by the creativity and diversity of experience offered when we build opportunities to live amongst neighbors of varying economic realities. 

So, we are in the process of connecting with the handful of folks who are interested in buying condos inside the historic stone barn, who will enable the rest of the project to move forward. If you are, or know someone who might be, please be in touch for details.

The vision for the Village at Stone Barn is a tapestry of Life woven together; a beloved community of practice. Sensing, seeing, tasting, and Being together to create the future that we desire, right here beneath our toes.

Amelia Tracy is working to establish the Village at Stone Barn in Perterborough as the nation’s first regenerative agrihood. For more information go online to www.conducivelife.com.


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