Hello Codman friends, family, members, volunteers, and new faces,
My name is Jon Mayer, and I am the new Education, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator here at Codman Community Farms! I’ve been warmly welcomed in my first week here, and I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to the community as a whole.
I grew up just down the road from Codman in Carlisle, Massachusetts. When I was little, my mother used to meet my sibling and me at school, and walk home with us through the woods on conservation trails that run throughout the town, and I fell in love with the land at a young age. While in high school, an influential teacher of mine introduced me to Michael Pollan’s writing, and to thinking about industrial food systems and their alternatives. I left home to study at Boston University, and my interest in alternative food movements grew into a passion, tied closely to my awareness of climate change and environmental destruction. Not long after I graduated, I set out to do the work firsthand, working at the Clark Farm in Carlisle, and Hutchin’s Farm in Concord, then traveling and working on small farms with the WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program, which connects people with small organic farms around the world where they can volunteer in exchange for room and board. I returned to Massachusetts, and followed my interest in education to the Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center, an Outward Bound base in the Boston Harbor. There, I taught primarily Boston Public Schools students through nature and challenge-based experiential education. When I heard that Codman was looking for help, I jumped at the chance to combine education and farming, and to nurture a sense of community - something I find to be so important in a world that can seem increasingly divided, individualistic, and often lonely.
From what I’ve seen and heard, Codman has a long legacy as a community hub in its 46 years. Within my first week, I’ve heard more stories than I can count of people’s relationship to this place just from talking to the folks who’ve stopped by to pick up some eggs, or to help split wood for an afternoon. I get the sense that Lincoln is a special town, and even though I grew up not far away, I am excited to get to know the unique character of the people and the land, and to develop Codman’s role as a place where, to quote a 1993 fundraising brochure I read the other day, “people can gather together in an atmosphere of friendship and community spirit, and share work, learning and fellowship”. Farms are places where we raise food, but they are also places where we can raise people. We can come together to share in the joy of bounty and the sorrow of loss, the cycles of birth and death, in family and friends, and in the simplicity of good food, fresh air, and laughter. I believe that by working together and supporting one another, we can water the good and the strengths within each individual, and that as they grow and flourish, we all grow and benefit as well.
The lessons to be learned on a farm are both simple and profound. It’s no accident that farming metaphors fill our literature and our spiritual traditions. Ultimately, there is a need for this place-based education, as it is through connecting deeply with a place that we learn to care about it, which prompts us to care for it, and for the people on it - something we need more than ever right now. I am excited to join the Codman team, and to play a role in this truly local movement; local in its production of food, and local in the ties between people that are woven along the way. I’m humbled and encouraged by the fact that while this is my job, I am stepping into a 40+ year process. There were people building community before I came here, and there will be after me as well. I am grateful to play a part in this story, and I feel supported knowing that I stand among many, some gone, some here, and some to come. You too, will be helping, by bringing your energy, voice, passion, kindness and spirit to the farm, through volunteering, attending one of our events, leading a workshop, or just spending a morning walking around, enjoying the sun and the fields, and taking the time to say hello to the people you meet. Community is by nature a shared process, and I look forward to joining you in it. Look out for news as we start to develop upcoming workshops, classes, potlucks, and other events, and if you have any ideas for the farm, or want to get involved, send us a note!
~ Jon Mayer