Camano Nature-Farm Communities Association

Any friends who have known the Farm in years past will have noticed and perhaps wondered at our new name change. Throughout last Fall and Winter, we were in the process of becoming an independent organization. Growing differences in vision with our parent organization of the last 12 years, along with some uncertainty and a healthy dose of Grace, eventually culminated in the total buyout of the farm properties, and the creation of a 501(d) nonprofit called Camano Farm Ashram. We are still the same group of nature-loving, simple, high-minded friends, living to serve our land and our communities in body and in spirit – only now from a place of deepened universality and potential, for which we are truly grateful.

It was this feeling of potential, through the process of the Farm’s rebirth, that also brought us realization of the need for a sister organization, whose aim would be specifically to expand and preserve opportunities for natural, community based, regenerative agriculture and land stewardship beyond the scope of the Farm’s current operation. The initial spur for a dedicated land-preserve entity was borne out of our hope and need to secure and steward the five-acre forest adjacent to the farm, which we affectionately call East Haven.

Beyond just being a contiguous parcel, the forest plays a key role in the ecological balance of the whole farm community; mature forests provide unique habitat for multitudes of species, greatly aid in regulating a region’s climate and soil health, while simultaneously providing ample resources for conscientious stewards. These are all factors of immense importance today, in a culture where clear-cut development and an automated divorce of human life from nature is nearly standardized. They also hold special poignancy for us on Camano, a small island of limited resources and rapid development, whose nature and communities alike would be done a great disservice by unchecked, unnatural human growth. 

And so it was these thoughts that gave rise to another nonprofit, 501(c)3 Camano Nature-Farm Communities Association (CNFCA). As we go on to share more about the vision and purpose of CNFCA, we invite you to share in our inspiration for what is ultimately, in our eyes, a path of great personal growth and freedom, toward an end of universal love and brotherhood the world over.

We have all no doubt experienced at some time or another some mixture of feelings of disbelief, distress, anger, or helplessness at the great environmental destruction and social upheaval so prevalent in the world today. From these feelings come any number of reactions – cynicism, activism, escapism, each a valid step in one’s process of reckoning. But as long as we are in a mode of re-action, we are still on one end of a spectrum, one pole of a polarized vision, creating a force to be resisted. If we are to find peace from this divisive play, the only way is by finding a way back to the center, where we discover universal truth, and may choose to live that truth in our own lives. For us, this is where nature and community come in.

The great Japanese natural farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka said, “The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” From humanity’s earliest beginnings, the foundation of life has always been harmless food gathering. Even the earliest native populations practiced agriculture, so integrated with the natural cycles and ecosystems around them as to leave no discernable trace. And of course, from a whole and nourished center, community follows. When we have a direct relationship to our food and a sense of rootedness in our environment, we are much healthier as individuals, and as a people. Unsustainable patterns on all levels – personal, interpersonal, societal – become unthinkable. Culture, connection, and a deep and fulfilling understanding of our place in the world – and our responsibility to it – become universal products of a grounded life.

This has been the standard of living for native cultures the world over since humanity’s earliest beginnings – the natural village. Sustainable communities wherein all needs are met locally, individuals have an inherent understanding of interconnectedness, and personal health is known to be intimately bound to the health of the whole.

This is our hope for CNFCA – to hold land in trust for the express purpose of growing such grounded communities. To help others bolster their own love, reverence and joy for nature, and experience profound personal growth and fulfillment alongside the growth of such a purpose. To provide opportunity and resources to any who share this vision and wish to add their efforts. To facilitate healing and restoration through pure service, in the spirit of giving that nature herself inspires in her perfect providence for our every need.

If this mission resonates with you, don’t hesitate to reach out. For all the ideals, we also still live in our world today, where land is expensive, and communal endeavors are often reduced to their liability. So we invite you to challenge these norms with us, and help to grow this vision, be it by donation, service, or spirit. Donations are tax-deductible, and we host several volunteer events each season. We also always encourage people to simply visit the farm (on Saturdays starting in May!) to share food, inspiration and grounding. Whether you want to get involved, donate, or simply share the community spirit, we would love to hear from you.

“Action on behalf of life transforms. Because the relationship between self and the world is reciprocal, it is not a question of first getting enlightened or saved and then acting. As we work to heal the earth, the earth heals us.” -Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

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