Norma Burns, the architect/farmer who intends to gift her 13-acre organic farm in Bennett, North Carolina, to another aspiring small farmer through a convincing essay, has extended the deadline for submissions to August 1. (Background information to follow.)
June 1 was the original deadline. As that date neared, however, Burns received a flood of questions and comments on the farm’s Facebook page from people who had only recently learned about “The Gift,” as she calls it. And because she has not yet received the number of submissions/entry fees needed to pay off her mortgage so she can gift it to another aspiring farmer, she decided to extend the deadline -- in accordance with the rules set up on the website www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.
“Preserving Bluebird Hill Farm is an important part of The Gift,” she said recently, noting that a general sale would not guarantee it. “I want to preserve this small farm for future farmers. I want to preserve the opportunity for those who dream of farming to obtain their dream.”
Through the Agricultural Conservation Easement that Burns just signed this month, she’s "also assuring that the natural resources, wildlife habitat, and scenic values of this property will be preserved.”
The rules and requirements for submitting a single-page essay that, along with other criteria, will determine Bluebird Hill Farm’s future owner, are available at www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com. Questions and comments may be directed only to the farm’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BluebirdHillFarmNC.
In January 2017, Norma Burns announced that she is inviting committed couples of any type who are also aspiring small farmers to submit an essay on “Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm.” Along with meeting certain other criteria (such as a resume indicating experience), a Selection Committee will determine the writers of the best essay who will receive her 13-acre farm in North Carolina’s bucolic Chatham County as a gift with title free and clear.
The farm and all its components is valued at around $450,000. Along with the land, The Gift includes out- buildings, equipment, and the farmhouse that Burns, as an architect, renovated years ago. Furnishings and accessories that are listed on the website also go with the house. Everything The Gift entails can be seen on the dedicated website: www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.
Burns chose to pass her beloved Bluebird Hill Farm on to a new owner in this manner because she wants to give aspiring small farmers who can’t afford to buy property the chance to have their own farm and to preserve and cherish it as much as she has.
“After nearly 18 years of work, love, and care, the farm has become what my late husband and I envisioned it to be when we bought it,” said Burns, who is ready to retire from the hard work of farming and enjoy a more urban lifestyle. “It would mean so much to me to see it in the care of someone committed to its continued improvement.”
She calls her effort to transfer ownership “A Gift of Good Land” in homage to American novelist, poet, and environmental activist Wendell Berry. For more information: www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com
About Bluebird Hill Farm:
Owned and operated by Norma DeCamp Burns, Bluebird Hill Farm is a small farm that specializes in growing herbs, specialty vegetables, cut flowers, and native plants, along with value-added farm crafts and food products. The farm incorporates the principles of permaculture to maximize the use of space in its raised beds. Burns has grown many types of fruits and vegetables, emphasizing diversity and quality over quantity. The farm is located in Bennett, NC.
Contact: Kim Weiss, Blueplate PR