The history of Lamb's Quarters Organic Farm (nicknamed "LQorgfarm") is known back to the 1800's. The farm and surrounding hill is rich in clean water sources, woodlands, wetlands, native pastures, berries, and orchards. This little biosphere runs efficiently with poultry and ovines producing wonderful compost for the gardens and field crops. In turn the livestock eat left over plant matter so that very little is wasted.
Sandy Pierce's grandfather, Benjamin Pierce came to this area from Canada in the late 1800's. The road on which the farm is located is named after him. The Pierce family gave up dairy farming in the early 1950's and the farm went fallow for over 20 years.
Sandy and her mother, Edith Pierce Bonell, started this era of the farm in the mid 1970's. Soon after, siblings and spouses joined the venture. They started out just growing veggies and fruits using the Ruth Stout method. Sheep were added in the mid 80's through a Cornell program to reclaim fallow farm land in Chenango County. Edith had been a poultry farmer in the 30's and 40's, so poultry (chickens, geese, guinea birds) soon became an integral part of the farm under her tutelage.
Sandy's sister, MaryAnn Whitney, had loved horses all her life, and raising Morgans became part of the operation until 1996. Since members of the family had allergies to bovine and porcine products (cow's milk, beef, pork), ovines (goats and sheep) were added for milk and meat.
Serious food and chemical allergies plagued the family and the family started a natural food store in Oxford in 1984 then moved it to Norwich. Eventually the off-farm stores closed to accommodate time for graduate work and furthering professions, but farm products continued to be sold directly to the consumer from the farm store, through CSAs, and at farmers markets.
During the time the farm was in full production (1980's to early 2000's) there was always a minimum of three people working the farm full time with other family members helping on weekends and holidays. By 2005 old age and illness started taking its toll and the family started planning for the future of the farm.
No young people in the family had any interest in farming, so the aging family farmers first tried to simply donate the farm "back" to the Onondaga Nation. We had met many of their citizens through NOFA-NY's organic farming conferences and knew that the Nation was supportive of sustainable agriculture. They were pleased with our offer, but declined informing us that Chenango County was in the Oneida Nation territory whose interests were not in agriculture.
Old age and illness finally took all the family farmers except Sandy. The family had two members who were Viet Nam veterans; and when one of them lost his final battle with mental illness, the family decided to donate the farm to a nonprofit corporation in March 2015. The mission of the nonprofit is to help veterans, disabled, disadvantaged, and young people who are landless, learn how to farm and grow their own food. With the help of grants and volunteers, our trainees (also called lessees, students, and/or interns) can learn the various trades needed to farm or gain employment elsewhere.
Sandy temporarily continues as the farm's general manager. We are currently looking for an assistant farm manager with experience in mechanics, horticulture, and general maintenance. Any veteran and/or experienced organic grower looking for a career in sustainable farming and who would like to apply should contact 607-334-4928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are also always looking for volunteers to help keep the flora and fauna in good health, and to work with trainees imparting skills and knowledge. See our page "About 501(c)3", subpage "Volunteers" for more information.