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Bluebird Hill Farm Owner Extends Essay Deadline

Aspiring farmers have until August 1 to vie for this small enterprise in North Carolina.



June 29, 2017 (Bennett, NC) — 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.

Norma Burns introduces a young visitor to freshly grown lavender.

“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.

Aerial view of Bluebird Hill Farm from the farmhouse (top) to the bright red barn (bottom).

Background:

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 outbuildings, 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.

 


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A Gift of Good Land: Bluebird Hill Farm Announces Essay Contest for Aspiring Organic Farmers

The owner of the Bennett, NC,  farm will award

full ownership to the winning couple.

farmhouse-lavender

Norma Burns, owner and operator of Bluebird Hill Farm in Bennett, NC, is holding a 200-word essay contest to award full ownership of her picturesque, 12.88-acre USDA Certified Organic farm in Bennett, NC, to a couple of aspiring farmers. The topic for the 200-word essay is: Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm. The deadline for entries is June 1, 2017.

1-monarda-barn“To me, there’s no better calling in life than raising organic food,” said Burns, an award-winning architect-turned-farmer. “I’m looking for a like-minded couple who have experience and training in organic farming and are willing and able to put in the long days and hard work that farming requires. The only thing they don’t have is an actual farm. I want to make it possible for these new farmers to get started.”

After nearly 18 years of running Bluebird Hill Farm — growing herbs, 3-aerial-view_2specialty vegetables, cut flowers, native plants, value-added farm crafts, and food products – Burns is ready to move back to Raleigh and into a more urban lifestyle. But she wants to leave her beloved farm in the care of a “committed couple of any description with the life experience and physical stamina that active farming requires,” she said. And she’s insisting on a committed couple because “experience has shown that Bluebird Hill Farm can’t be operated successfully by a single individual.”

The winning couple will receive the Certificate of Title, free and clear, to Bluebird Hill Farm, which, according to Burns, has been estimated to be worth $450,000. The property is also subject to an agricultural conservation easement.

2-aerial-view_1Calling her essay contest “A Gift of Good Land,” in homage to American novelist, poet, and environmental activist Wendell Berry, Burns has established a website dedicated to the contest – www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com — that explains all the details about the prize, including the eligibility requirements, entry fee, and how to enter.

Burns will not be involved in the selection process, she noted. Instead, a panel of judges consisting of one attorney, one conservationist, and one agricultural professional will choose the winning couple.

Aspiring farmers and others can learn more about Bluebird Hill Farm and see a gallery of photos on its Facebook page — www.facebook.com/pg/BluebirdHillFarmNC. The essay contest winners will be announced on the Facebook page on June 30th.

“When my late husband [NCSU Professor Bob Burns] and I purchased the farm, it was a derelict property,” Burns said, “a barn without a roof, a neglected house, and abandoned gardens. After nearly 18 years of work, love, and care, the farm has become what we envisioned it to be. It would mean so much to me to see it in the care of someone committed to its continued improvement.”

For more information on Bluebird Hill Farm’s Essay Contest, visit www.essaybluebirdhillfarm.com.

GARLIC, HERBS, FLOWERS copyAbout Bluebird Hill Farm:

Owned and operated by Norma DeCamp Burns, Bluebird Hill is a small USDA Certified Organic farm that specializes in growing herbs, specialty vegetables, cut flowers, native plants, 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 grows many types of fruits and vegetables, emphasizing diversity and quality over quantity. The farm is located in Bennett, NC.