Codman Farm was founded in 1973 by a dynamic group of residents who were passionate about preserving the property and maintaining its character as a genuine working farm. Jen, Abe, and I arrived at the farm in January 2016 and were greeted warmly by so many. Three years later we still remain grateful for this loving reception as we embark on our newest adventure, here, with you, on the farm in the Heart of Lincoln.
Jen and I brought with us a know-how of raising animals on pasture while farming in Concord/Sudbury for over twelve years. We invented innovative systems for managing livestock on pasture and developed a customer following who knew and trusted our ethics and passion for organically grown foods. It was a natural fit to shift this know-how to a supportive town such as Lincoln and expand these practices onto the many acres of beautiful pastures located throughout town.
We also knew that Codman was blessed to have a wealth of infrastructure, including well-maintained historic barns and outbuildings and access to over 100 acres of fields. With this amazing foundation it was easy to imagine a future where animals were living a good life for three seasons on pasture, and only returned to the farm during winter. With this vision in mind, the tremendous potential for the farm could truly be realized, although this meant breaking with some norms and traditions at Codman Farm.
For many years prior, the farm had primarily been a retail hay producer with a small animal component - but this model was failing for many reasons. The production model needed to be flipped on its head and instead the farm would need to have a larger pasture-based animal component and produce only enough hay for our own animals to consume in winter. This critical switch meant the farm would be depositing more nutrients onto the fields (in the form of manure) and extracting less (in the form of hay). It was also especially important these first few years to work closely with the Lincoln Conservation Commission and other interested parties to ensure all were on board with this plan.
Within our first season we expanded from 100 laying hens to 1,000 and moved the hens to Codman South field. We then began growing meat chickens at Mt. Misery field, turkeys on Codman North field, and liberated the pigs from their pig pen to roam open pastures on Old Sudbury Road. What a joy to see the pigs run and root, the hens to peck and scratch the pastures, and turkeys to gobble at cars passing by on Codman Road! Our goal has always been to grow animals in the most humane way we know how...and to improve upon these efforts each season.
As we look ahead, we plan to generate all of our own energy and become the net-zero farm in the heart of Lincoln by summer of 2019. Additionally, we plan to dramatically improve the grounds with better signage and improved traffic flow, and add a host of new and fun educational opportunities including egg collection weekends, and open houses which will be focused on our innovative farming practices. So visit the farm, shop at the Farm Store, and say hello. We are all friends here, in the Heart of Lincoln, your community farm!