Community Farm Proposal for Fauquier County

Fauquier Community Action Committee (FCAC) was founded in 1965 with the mission to reduce poverty and the negative effects it has. The Community Farms’ mission will be to provide food for emergency relief of the immediate impact of poverty and to provide opportunities to break the cycle of poverty.

The first part of the mission will be partially accomplished by establishing a volunteer program that will attract volunteers from the local area and regionally. The strength and real benefit from this portion of the farm is the volunteer involvement and the hands on experience of the volunteers working together to help make a difference. We will work with the local schools to provide volunteer and educational opportunities for students from pre-school to graduate students doing internships. We will work with the sheriff’s department and the court to provide community service opportunities for inmates and others. We will work with those serving the disabled community to develop special adapted volunteer opportunities for the mentally and physically challenged.  Local religious organizations and community organizations will be asked to provide volunteers. This will be truly a volunteer farm inviting everybody to be part of the success story.

With the help of the volunteers the farm will produce farm products for the Fauquier Community Food Bank. This will provide a supply of fresh and nutritious food for low income individuals and families in our community. Access farm products will be sold to produce income to help sustain the farm and its projects.

The second part of the mission is to provide opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. FCAC plans on providing demonstration projects utilizing past, present and futuristic agricultural and energy practices to train and encourage individuals to start their own agricultural based businesses and to act as a learning center to encourage individuals to be more self reliant and self sufficient. The center for sustainable energy and agricultural practices will be a key component to help individuals to learn the skills to break the cycle of poverty.

FCAC has staff with experience in sustainable agriculture and alternate energy and plans on including the following projects on the site as funding and time permits. We wish to demonstrate the following:

1.                          Green house heated by passive solar

2.                          Green house utilizing water tanks for a heat source that are growing fresh water shrimp, catfish and Tilapia

3.                          A bio diesel algae based plant

4.                          A solar energy based water irrigation system utilizing soaker hose technology

5.                          Hydroponics green house

6.                          Micro wind generation to replenish batteries for LED grow lights in the green houses

7.                          All buildings and projects would be designed to be energy neutral (does not include the volunteer farm component at this time)

The above projects will be designed to be practical demonstrations that will provide the opportunities for interns, high school student field trips, volunteers, job training, continuing education, business management and examples that can be replicated and provide new jobs in agriculture and alternate energy in the community. FCAC will be raising the funds for these projects and will implement them as time and funds permit.  

Time line:

Fall 2008                                 Establish the Fauquier Volunteer Farm
                                               Prepare ten acres for planting
                                               Develop proposals for the Center for Sustainable Energy and Agricultural Practices
Winter 2008                            Finalize plans for the irrigation system
                                                Recruit volunteers
Spring 2009                             Start planting 10 acres for Fauquier Volunteer Farm
                                                Install solar irrigation system with soaker hoses 
Summer 2009                          Begin harvesting crops
                                                Construct temporary green house for winter crops

This is a very rough timeline for the first year of operations and is not a detailed accounting of all the tasks that need to be accomplished.

Request from the county:

To provide the use of approximately 10 acres of land in 2009 with an option to expand in 2010 for the Fauquier Volunteer Farm and for the Center for Sustainable Energy and Agricultural Practices.

Provide a minimum of a ten year lease on the land and allow FCAC to make county approved improvements. The county considers adding this facility to the county land use plan and making it a permanent facility if it meets or exceeds expectations and proves to be a valuable resource to the county within the first three years of operation.  

Cost to County: The initial cost to the county would be loosing the rental income from the leased land.

Potential gain to the county:

  1. Become a model for a volunteer farm to help feed the hungry in our region
  2. Become a model for sustainable energy and agricultural practices
  3. Provide a job training site for sustainable agriculture practices for county residents
  4. Provide a job training site for alternate energy practices for county residents
  5. Provide research opportunities for sustainable energy and agricultural practices
  6. Provide jobs for local residents

For more information or any questions please contact:
Thomas Benjamin, Executive Director,
Fauquier Community Action Committee,
50 Sullivan Street, Warrenton, VA  20186
540-347-7000 ext 102 E-mail Tbenjamin@cwcap.org

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