We are a Catholic Worker Farm Community that has an organic farm. We are using the Biointensive method of growing crops on our farm. Our volunteers watch the John Jeavons “Grow Biointensive, A Beginners Guide”, as well as the Debra Koons-Garcia “Symphony of the Soil” videos, as an initial way of teaching what we are doing here. From there out, it’s hands-on applications of the concepts as we lean toward permaculture. Volunteers work with us starting heirloom seeds in Biointensive seed flats, double digging beds, transplanting into beds and watering, growing and harvesting vegetable, grain, and compost crops. All of our seeds are heirloom seeds including Chris Montesano’s own beans and tomatoes from his grand-parents from southern Italy (the Scalzo family). Saving these seeds is an important task in the life-rhythms of Earth Abides Catholic Worker Farm. We have raised-bed gardens (about 2700 sq. ft.) and will be expanding to produce more of our own food. We also work hard to grow our own compost because our #1 priority is the soil.
Our #2 priority is saving seeds (and sowing the seeds of revolution), and our #3 priority is eating what we grow. A 7.7K solar array pumps our water and runs power to our buildings. Our Farm is located in Calaveras County in California in the Sierra Nevada foothills at 3,300 ft elevation, about 4 miles (“as the wild turkey flies”) from Arnold, CA. Our 80 acres include an Oak, Pine, and Cedar forested area (which is CURRENTLY DYING). Within this property we have a 9-acre meadow and a 1-acre pond. We have a half-acre orchard that is primarily apples. By car we are an hour from Calaveras Big Trees State Park, 3 hours from Tahoe and 3 hours from Yosemite National Park. We freeze some of our harvest, dry some, and do canning for some. We have 15 barred rock hens, 3 lamancha goats, and 2 alpacas. We have two 12′ by 20′ hoop-style greenhouses. (The greenhouse design was done by Jeremy Amouroux, a French architect who WWOOFed here with his girlfriend Flora in 2010.) We also must regularly remove encroaching brush and thin the expanding forest sustainably, sanely. Maintenance of our buildings is an ongoing project. Feel free to write to us or phone us prior to using these directions for visiting us. People from all faiths and no faith traditions are welcome to volunteer short-term.
About 30% of our energy is devoted to our ministry work–providing retreats for persons with HIV / AIDS and their caregivers. Our AIDS Retreats are held 3 days per month (except in extreme heat and cold). Many of the people we serve on these retreats are members of the LGBTIQ and IV drug-user communities. We also conduct resistance to nuclear weapons in the Bay Area.
We use as much of our own produce, milk and eggs as we can to provide food for our volunteers, our retreatants and our WWOOFers. Here’s a song celebrating our 40 year history and attempts at subsistence farming.
PLEASE DONATE to help us with our various projects.