Sanborn Mills Farm is a place for people to learn how to work the land in ways that are sustainable and self-renewing. Using the model of a traditional New England diversified working farm (agricultural fields, managed forests, timber framed barns for animals, sawmill, grist mill and blacksmith shop), the farm serves as a place to apply the lessons learned from the past to current needs for sustainability and community.
Sanborn Mills Farm will be:
- A cultural resource with an educational program that expands the knowledge of American millwrighting, saw milling, grain milling, ice cutting, blacksmithing and tinsmithing, and working with animal power, through hands-on experience, public programs, tours, exhibits, research and publication.
- A setting in which small-scale entrepreneurial enterprises will learn how to fill specialty niches in the lumber milling, grain milling, and metalworking marketplaces,
- “A place for reflection and renewal of the human spirit” linked to the values and time-frames of the nineteenth century; a place where the interdependency of the people and families that formed communities before the industrial revolution can be reinvigorated and celebrated.
The goals of Sanborn Mills, Inc. are to secure adequate operating support and, as necessary, an appropriate endowment for the continuing operation of Sanborn Mills Farm so it may:
- Preserve, restore, and use the Grist Mill, Saw Mill, Blacksmith Shop and Ice House on Sanborn Mills Farm.
- Teach those interested in learning the crafts of millwrighting, milling grains, sawing lumber, cutting ice, forge practice and tinsmithing.
- Teach animal husbandry (involving rare breeds if possible), how to use animal power on the farm and in the forest, and how to raise and process animals for food.
- Work the farm and forest in ways that improve soil quality and timber stand value, using techniques learned from the days of animal power and energy independence mixed with modern technology.
- To redefine these goals periodically to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
“A healthy culture is a communal order of memory, insight, value, work, conviviality, reverence, aspiration…It clarifies our inescapable bonds to the earth and to each other. A healthy farm culture can only be based upon familiarity and can grow only among a people soundly established upon the land; it nourishes and safeguards a human intelligence of the earth that no amount of technology can satisfactorily replace. The growth of such a culture was once a strong possibility in the farm communities of this country. We now have only the sad remnants of those communities. If we allow another generation to pass without doing what is necessary to enhance and embolden the possibility now perishing with them, we will lose it altogether.”
Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America
“Health is the capacity of the land for self-renewal. Conservation is our effort to understand and pursue this capacity.”
“Only sufficient diversity and redundancy enable systems to retain their capacity for self-renewal.”