- January Farms -
Wilderness Work-Space + Retreat
First, January Farms is not a farm, not yet.
Then what is it? It is a simple question with a complex answer, and to get to the answer I have to tell you a little bit about myself.
The first spark, that beginning moment I can recall came one night while playing board games with some friends. Scheming about raising pigs a friend told me we should start a farm, and call it January as a tribute to our birth month. It was this spark, this giving-the-thing-a-name, that brought it forward from my subconscious, like a reoccurring dream I could no longer shake.
Truthfully, this wasn’t the beginning of my thoughts of having a farm, or land or growing things. Growing up, there was always a garden somewhere in our yard, my grandfather had a giant garden, and my dad loved landscaping. Being outdoors, in nature was a huge part of my childhood and the reason I need it in my life. Being outdoors connects me to something in its realest form, God in its wildest most honest state. Whether it’s viewing a lightning storm on the top of a hill or feeling your breath freeze in your lungs, there is something so grounding about experiencing the natural world.
But as things go, my love for land didn’t come back around in a serious way til I was a senior in college, when I chose to do my senior thesis study on a community garden associated with a nonprofit food bank. I spent my summer and fall pretty much exclusively in that garden; my spare time was spent observing the social interactions and community interconnectedness, and also gardening. It was a therapeutic activity I had been missing, and to see how it impacted the community made me wonder if growing food with others meant more than food. Could social and cultural connectedness, manual labor and direct contact with nature be what so many people need?
Fast forward through city living, community garden attempts, and starting my own gardens, flushing out desires for what January Farms would be naturally wound itself in all of that. Putting a time stamp on the project came much later, after our family grew and my husband’s career in music began to take true form. But it was still ambiguous. How are we going to build a space that is in my dreams? Where will we get the money? Will we look for investors? Should we buy a property with buildings or build from the ground up? All of those questions caused me to seriously doubt whether we could do it. There is so much, after all, that goes into creating something out of nothing.
But then I remembered that I’m not starting with nothing.
I have some knowledge and some experience.
And those count for quite a bit. Especially because I can use those anywhere, at anytime.
That is when I realized, that more than anything else, January Farms is me. It is who I am and what I hold inside. I could go on planning for the rest of my life, but there comes a point when you must do, or nothing will be done. January Farms began out of sheer desire to begin.
So armed with my experiences in community gardens and research libraries, and a lifetime collaboration with nature, I began January Farms as a way to help people connect to the earth through a garden. I aim to use my knowledge to help people create their own space for renewal and regeneration. So be it a help with culinary garden or how to make bread from scratch, it is my desire to help others come back to basics of life.
January Farms is a place to ‘begin again’.
In its fullness, January Farms is a place. A place of rest, renewal and reconnection to the earth and the Divine in spiritual, emotional, and physical avenues. January Farms will be a place to create: to record music, to write songs or books, make art, practise a craft, or discover a new one.
January Farms will hopefully be a self-sufficient homestead providing food and other goods for our farm and the community, and a place for education and workshops that go hand in hand. January Farms is a facility that provides accommodations in multiple forms and the ability to host events and retreats. Gardens, animals, studio and space combine to create a place of respite with a focus on connecting to work in the most natural sense.
January Farms seeks to maintain lands and buildings in the most environmentally, ethically, and socially conscious way, allowing individuals to connect deeper with natural landscape, clean food and pure experience.
When I look at my wife, Janelle, I see January farms. I see it in the passion of her work, the quiet nature of her soul and her deep rooted connection to the natural world and the soil beneath her feet.
January Farms is a representation of the joy and bounty of a simpler way of being. A life more focused on creating than consuming. A life more intent on the flow of one’s work than the size of one’s bank account. A life that Janelle has spent years cultivating for herself and her family.
As she, herself, continues to grow her passion grows in sharing this life with others through classes and personal consultations on everything from starting a backyard culinary garden to achieving a more waste free home. It is Janelle’s dream to expand this work out onto a piece of land where the ideas of January Farms can be found and physically experienced in the natural beauty of the wild.
January Farms, a place not only of respite and retreat, but also of a deeper connection with one’s passions and the wide natural world that sustains us each and every day.