Raised bed garden plots surrounded by a lawn.

Small Plots Make a Big Difference

More Valuable, More Impactful, More Possible

  inside the tunnel greenhouse at Heathcote farm. Herbs and vegetables growing on terraced land.

Little oases in the food desert:

In the US, large farms produce the majority of yields; Despite this, micro-farms like Heathcote Farm make up the majority of US farm plots. This is explained by their continued and growing personal, social, environmental, and secondary economic benefits.    

Renewing Heathcote’s Educational Mission in 2023

Before the pandemic and our new zoning and use restrictions from the county, Heathcote provided a wide range of educational programs consisting of classes and workshops. These taught hundreds of participants applied-skills in Permaculture, self-care, and community building. The take-home value for these learners was that it gave them more ability to implement personal-scale projects with benefits beyond profits alone. The increasing value of gardens and micro-farms has come from a combination of more demand and better productivity. Small-plot farmers lack market linkages to sell produce, but the latest e-commerce technology and aggregation platforms now connect them to consumers at all times, wherever they are. Large farms profit from scaling expensive technology that is more productive than human labor, but miniaturization has made more affordable labor-saving, automation, and productivity technology accessible to almost everyone. Centralized distribution and warehouse networks make food available cheaply from anywhere, any time of the year. Disruptions in these food systems increase costs to consumers while limiting choice, security, and access. Personal gardens and micro-farms produce a variety of nutritious foods that mitigate these disruptions while they promote the food sovereignty of communities. And there’s even one more alchemy: Statistically, gardeners and micro-farmers over-count their already objectively real higher productivity from smaller plots. Perhaps they also feel better about their food, valuing it more.  

Summers in Baltimore

map of Baltimore City in August 2018 showing the heat differences from the urban heat-island effect.

Baltimore’s urban heat-island is magnified by climate change

This disproportionately impacts less-powerful communities by up to 20 degrees F. Heat-events of increasing frequency and severity cause more deaths and injuries than hurricanes, tornadoes, or any other weather-event. Greening urban areas can reduce urban heat-islands while capturing carbon and creating healthier, more pleasant spaces.  

Food Systems Not Food Markets

The world food crisis of 2007/8 failed to result in rethinking of our food systems beyond markets and short-term cost reduction. We could see a replay of 2007 now, accompanied by environmental tipping and continuing public health vulnerabilities. The breakdown of food supply chains is driven by a combination of infrastructure neglect and just-in-time economy that can’t adjust to climate and political instabilities. Today, programs that teach and support networks of personal, homestead, and small-plot agriculture advance greater food security alongside economic and environmental benefits of payoff and equity. In 2023, Heathcote intends to make major investments in our own infrastructure, starting with urgently needed remodeling of the historic Heathcote Mill as our conference center. If you’re able, we at Heathcote, our partners, and our participants would appreciate a year-end donation. Mill restoration and improvements will better enable us to serve our education and community-building missions. There are many ways to donate. If you are looking for a tax-deductible year-end financial donation, choose to make a financial donation. If you are replacing old furniture, computers or office equipment, ask us if we need it. Remember that gifts-in-kind are tax-deductible, too. What if we can’t use whats in your attic? Consider including a donation for School of Living on e-Bay for Charities, where you can donate a part or all of the sale of the item. Heathcote Education Center is fiscally sponsored project of School of Living. Donations directly to School of Living go to our parent organization. Direct donations here go to the Heathcote Education Center. And if you’re a trades-person, Heathcote needs carpentry, electrical, and plumbing work. The new accessible public bathroom, the new handicapped ramp, better lighting, safer grounds, improved technology services, better ventilation, and other necessary improvements won’t build themselves!   HOW TO PLEDGE GIFTS AND SERVICES    

Finding another way to help

And don’t forget that you can even help with your year-end shopping: Choose School of Living with your Amazon Smiles purchases. Amazon Smiles donates 0.5% of your purchase amount while it costs you nothing.   Thank you for your continued support. Heathcote is a half-century old because of people like you.  

Your donation will help us…

  power line pole leaning over road
Improve safety and reliability
  Front Door porch at Heathcote Mill with steps not handicapped ramp.
Install a ramp for handicapped access
  Heathcote Mill building as seen from Heathcote Road in the evening. Improvements in 2023 will make this our new conference center.
Install outdoor lighting around the mill, parking area, and grounds.
  temporary pole holding electric wires going to out buildings
Run power to our out-buildings and carpenter shops

Thanks from everyone at Heathcote!

Your contributions help us maintain and expand our important programs, build and rebuild infrastructure, and modernize our means of reaching others.
Questions or technical problems? Contact us: info@heathcote.org

New to Heathcote and want to learn more about us?

Consider coming to a Visitor Day? Visitor Days are held the third Sundays of each month in March through December. We are closed in January and February, but we may have virtual visitor days this year if there is interest. Check our website and look for Visitor Day!  
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