In the first phase of this project we've begun by establishing a Prototype Farm in Western North Carolina. We've been fortunate to have Vincent's grandparents, Peggy & Latif Fakhoury, offer us space to grow on their small family farm. They're also mentoring us, and with ~140 years of experience between them, we feel we're in really good hands! We began planting crops in the summer of 2019, and are looking forward to our first full growing season in 2020.
The purpose of the prototype farm is to start simply--a type of minimum viable farm--so that we can learn by doing. All of the knowledge gained on the prototype farm can then be applied to the Genesis Farm. The other function of the prototype farm is to generate interest in the Genesis Farm, so that those who are interested in participating in and supporting the next phase can actually see what we're working toward. See, isn't it pretty?:
In phase 2 of the project we are working toward our ultimate goal of establishing a fully functioning Buddhist Geeks Genesis Farm & Retreat Center that can host ~20 people at a time. The purpose of the Genesis Farm is to serve as a repository of knowledge for those attempting something similar, to be a proof-of-concept for this model, and to be a training ground for those that want to deepen their contemplative practice while learning more about our model of mindful living. The Genesis Farm is meant to be a type of "parallel temporary utopia," wherein we can exploring healthier, more heartfelt, and effective ways of living together, somewhat outside some of the normal constraints of the capitalist-world-system.
Our strategy on getting there is to follow an agile development process, much as is used in modern software development. The vision above lights our way forward, even as we break our strategic steps into the most simple, bite sized, and achievable milestones we can.
There are a couple important reasons for doing it this way. One being that there is a huge benefit to setting more achievable goals and then achieving them. All of these little small wins add wind to our sails and give us the opportunity to share these small wins, making the project increasingly real & worthy of supporting. The second reason for an agile approach is that by breaking down the process into smaller milestones we open up the possibility of being able to dynamically steer the strategy. Instead of trying to figure out the entire strategy up-front, and raising a boat load of funds to make it happen all at once--what is often called the waterfall model of development--instead we can continue learning about what we're trying to do even as we're doing it. This approach generates less waste, by minimizing costly mistakes, and puts the focus on continual learning and adapting.
It is clear to us that our first milestone must be the purchase of suitable land in Western North Carolina. As such, this is what we're working on now! We have an initial goal of raising $100,000 so that we can begin seriously looking at local farmland. We're looking for several acres, within 30 minutes of the Asheville City Center, that can become the home of the Genesis Farm. We will be doing all of the necessary research, to ensure that we pick a spot which can grow with us, and which has the right conditions for growing food and community.
After purchasing land, and achieving our 1st big milestone, there are a number of other possible milestones that will follow. These aren't necessarily listed in order, but they do represent a number of potential
In this third phase of this project, the Buddhist Geeks Farm model would successfully self-replicate, with a new Buddhist Geeks Farm being founded somewhere else in the world. From there, the two existing farms can link up, through formal Holacratic linking, to form The Farm Network. From there, any number of other Buddhist Geeks Farms could start-up and the Network would serve as a resource hub for making it easier for others to replicate this contemplative model of shared living (should it prove to work!). The Farm Network can also connect with other larger action-based networks, so that we can coordinate our coordinating on larger levels of society/culture.