Where do you live and how long have you lived in this area?
I live with my wife, Flora Brown, and our two-year-old daughter Sascha on the family farm I grew up on in Arundel. Three generations of family now live here along with non-family members of an ever-evolving cooperative community. My parents purchased the 100-acre farm property in 1969 with the dream of raising their kids in a setting where self-sufficiency was the backdrop to daily life.
How do you make your living?
For the past 20 years, I have focused on residential building and design with occasional forays into farming. As a founder of Evergreen Building Collaborative, I have worked to develop innovative solutions to housing ourselves based on efficient use of resources, affordability and the use of local materials reflecting regional architectural forms.
What have you learned about life, living and working in Maine?
There is no substitute for knowing the people that make up your community. When we live in isolation it is easy to form opinions of others that are not always accurate. I find that Maine is still a small enough place that people from all walks of life can still find common ground. Honest dealings and common sense are part of the fabric of life here.
You recently launched a CSA farming project. Can you say more about that and what inspired you and your family to start the farm?
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and represents a model of farming that many small farms are turning to as a partnership between the farmer and the community around the farm. In this model, local community members buy a “share” in the farm in the late winter or early spring in exchange for produce distributed throughout the growing season. We chose this model for our farm because it creates a personal and vital link between our farm and the consumer, connecting people to the source of their food and the experience of farming. By visiting the farm on a weekly basis our “shareholders” see the process of growing food first hand, can join in on the work, observe our growing practices and can feel satisfied that the food they are eating is healthy for them and the land.
When you want some quiet time in nature, where do you go?
The beaches in this area are always a good destination, though crowded in the summer months. I have always enjoyed visiting Laudholm Farm and the Wells Reserve, and Rachel Carson Wildlife Sanctuary, taking walks on the trails, cross country skiing in the winter, and bird watching. The Emmons Preserve at the Kennebunkport Land Trust has great walking paths.
How did growing up on the farm influence who you are today?
I’ve counted over a hundred different people who have lived here in my lifetime, in a variety of creative housing configurations. Some of whom stayed for years, others who were just passing through. Through daily chores, heated discussions around the communal dinner table, and democratic meetings that were structured around consensus, I learned a lot about how to live in a community of varied personalities, worldviews, and passions. Today, I continue to value and seek out this kind of diversity in both my personal and work lives. Finding common ground through common sense efforts is important and creating a viable local economy through supporting local farming and small businesses are just a few examples.