Codman Community Farms is looking forward to a prosperous New Year in 2016!
The new year brings new faces and exciting changes to the Farm. We are pleased to welcome Peter Lowy and Jennifer Hashley of Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds to the farm management team at Codman. Pete and Jen have been farming in Concord and Sudbury for the past decade, growing vegetables and raising pasture-based livestock and will bring experienced management with a strong farm operations track record. They are excited to become part of this historic farm and to continue Lincoln’s dedication to preserving its agricultural heritage. They bring a commitment to education and public engagement and an entrepreneurial spirit to engage and grow diverse revenue-generating enterprises that will support and grow Codman’s mission.
Pete and Jen are coming full circle in joining us at Codman. In 2003, Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds got its start and began its first flock of laying hens with a few pullets (almost ready-to-lay layers) purchased from Farmer Ray at Codman Community Farms! They were hooked on chickens, and within a couple of years began exploring other livestock enterprises. They expanded into meat chickens, then pigs, rabbits, a few sheep and goats, and turkeys. Backyard Birds’ current enterprises include organic, pasture-raised laying hens for eggs; organic meat chickens; heritage-breed pork; meat rabbits; turkeys; and specialty vegetable crops, herbs, flowers, fruits, and value-added products. Pete and Jen have scaled operations over time and have continually researched and invested in systems-oriented, holistic farm management approaches to produce high-quality, tasty products, which steward soil health and land resources through a strong foundation of attention to animal welfare and good husbandry practices.
Pete was a Peace Corps volunteer (Micronesia), International Development Specialist with the American Red Cross, Operations Manager for a private health care company, and has spent the last 15 years immersed in the world of sustainable agriculture. For the past 12 years, Pete served as the full-time Assistant Farm Manager at Verrill Farm. He was responsible for managing seasonal greenhouse and farm staff and for the production of all minor vegetable crops from greenhouse to harvest. During his time with Verrill Farm, Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds began as a small hobby farm. Over the years, Pete brought their livestock production to scale. He developed markets, innovative and efficient livestock management systems, built core infrastructure, and created a successful business.
Jen was also a Peace Corps volunteer (Honduras), staff biologist at an environmental consulting firm, and has also spent the past 15 years immersed in sustainable agriculture. For the past 10 years, Jen has been the Director of the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project, a beginning farmer training program at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Jen is responsible for the overall strategic direction and management of the organization that includes three incubator training farms, horticultural, livestock, and farm business training courses, a food hub (World PEAS), and several national-scale, capacity-building programs for beginning farmers and food security efforts. Jen was instrumental in developing the first licensed Massachusetts Mobile Poultry Processing Unit (MPPU) and raised funds to build a state-of-the-art enclosed MPPU for Eastern Massachusetts. Jen is also an agricultural business instructor for the Mass. Department of Agricultural Resources and is a frequent public speaker. She serves on the boards and steering committees of multiple agricultural organizations.
We are excited to join forces with Pete and Jen to leverage their agricultural skills and bring their expertise to assist Codman Farm in achieving its goals to: operate an economically sustainable “working farm” in the heart of Lincoln; engage the community by providing farm learning opportunities; care for the animals; care for the land; and operate a well-managed, vibrant gathering space — all while preserving the long-term sustainability of Codman Community Farms.
Look for some fresh changes coming soon as Pete and Jen and their son Abraham move to the Farm at the end of December. You can find their products alongside Codman’s and a new look to the Codman Farm Store in January. Pete and Jen are most excited about growing high-quality, tasty food to feed Lincoln and surrounding communities — they will be expanding production, revamping the Farm Store, and supplying area restaurants and farmstands.
*Photo by Angela Klempner Photography.