Help cofound a forest understory farm community

We are founding a small community on 7.25 acres of wooded, hilly land in Hamden, Connecticut, USA, with a ranch house, a stream, a streamside meadow, and soaring poplars and maples. Although the land is heavily populated with invasive species, we also noticed bloodroot, white wood asters, snakeroot, and several types of goldenrod; we’re excited to see what’s visible there in the spring. Day to day, we will be spending a lot of time together as a community: cooking and eating together; sharing chores; working together on home and land improvement projects; and hanging out. We want to host occasional events like workshops, cookouts, and backyard shows. Right now, “we” is just my partner and me, but we both want to add more people ASAP and be true cofounders, all of us together.

We want to manage the forest as a forest-understory farm that provides food for humans, especially mushrooms, shade-tolerant native edible plants like mayapple, honewort, ramps and fiddleheads, and water plants like wapato and cattail. We want the land to provide way more ecosystem services than it does now and support all kinds of wildlife, from turkeys to caterpillars. There is also mown yard near the house that can be converted over time into small garden and orchard areas. We’ll also have small livestock – definitely chickens, possibly geese and goats, depending on the interests of the community.

We haven’t closed on the land yet, but we’re under contract and hoping to find people to move in with us starting as soon as November 18th (the current planned close date) or on December 1st. It’s at 585 Main St in Hamden, CT, about 15 car-minutes or 30 bike-minutes from central New Haven. The two of us mostly get around on ebikes and would be happy to figure out a way for everyone in the community to have their own ebike to ride – it’s a really good way of getting around New Haven, since we’re pretty far out from the nearest bus stop and the bus system isn’t the best in any case.

The house was expensive, and we’ll likely be looking at a monthly cost of between $700-800 per person, per month (not including utilities). We will likely adjust rent to be proportionate to income. You can see pictures of the house on Redfin or your preferred listing service. The listing doesn’t have a lot of pictures of the land, unfortunately, so I’ve made a public album to give a better sense of what it looks like. We want to protect the land so that it can never be sold, but instead is owned in trust by the community, providing everyone who lives there with land security.

As a community, we have a lot of thoughts about power, privilege and how to live as justly as possible in a deeply unjust world. We are committed to restorative conflict resolution, and to anti-racism.

If this sounds like your dream living situation, please message us! We’ll be happy to answer any questions and send an application your way. If the house falls through, we’ll still be looking for land and would love to have your contact info. Properties like this seem to come up 1-2 times a year in Hamden.

Link to album: https://photos.app.goo.gl/kuYSJNkQkBfFCEbZ6

More about the people involved so far:

My name is Griffin, and I’m a plant geek and also a nutrient-cycling geek who has always, always wanted to get on land and live in community. I didn’t find one in New England that suited my exact needs so I guess I’ll try and make one. I like to cook, identify and nurture plants, and hang out with my sweet old black Lab, Rosa. I’m naturally conflict-averse so I like to build good containers for difficult conversations, like house meetings with built-in time for requests and discussions of daily goings-on. I am trans, queer, white, and I work as a nurse. I am very people-oriented and like to chat and be friendly in shared spaces but also love to hear if someone’s not up for chatting at that moment! I was raised in guess culture, but am transitioning to ask culture. I’ve spent some time at Acorn, Twin Oaks, D Acres, and visited various other communities in the US.

Eric should really speak for themselves but they are asleep, so I’ll draft this and they can do an intro if they get a chance. Eric is a Marxist who organizes in New Haven and also likes to cook, pull invasive plants, and hang out with Rosa. Eric helps out with plant stuff as needed and likes to read, fix stuff, hike and bike around. They are nb, queer, white and they work as a plumber. They prefer direct communication.

Rosa is incredibly gentle and slow. She’s nine, loves people, and doesn’t bark in the house or at the doorbell, but does bark at the woods at night if let outside. She’s still up for a good hike and totally obsessed with her Frisbee. She does shed and she will be part of the household for the rest of her life, but we do use HEPA filters, vacuum often and otherwise are happy to make accommodations for allergies and/or dog hesitancy.

Whew, what do they say about having no time to write a shorter letter? I think I’ve just been fielding so many inane “Is this available” messages on Facebook that I want to get it ALL out there. Please feel free to comment if this situation sounds like it could be a fit!