What We Do
Sunflower River is a working farm, and center for pagan (earth-based) spirituality. We live and act in both of those spaces simultaneously. So we maintain a large garden, raise livestock, preserve food, host ceremonies large and small, host a few secular events, and we’ve always got a project or three going on. Sunflower River was founded in 2007 by Tristan, Jenny, Kat & Alan. Billy has been part of the team from the start, and Rev joined in 2008. We have been building infrastructure (organizationally, interpersonally, and literally) nearly every day since we started. Lots of processes and projects are highly functional now, others are just getting going, and others are yet to be realized. No one has ever accused us of insufficient ambition! So the things we do fall under three main categories: Cycles, Events and Projects.
We maintain a quarter-acre organic vegetable garden, where we grow an assortment of chard, kale, lettuces and other greens, tomatoes, corn, eggplant, peppers, beans (dry and green), amaranth, peas, onions, garlic, potatoes, sunberries and whatever else comes to mind in a given year. We grow the vast majority of our plants from seed, either through direct-sowing, or through starting seeds in our greenhouse, and we use organic heirloom variety seeds, which we acquire mostly from the Seed Saver’s Exchange, or through our own and others’ seed-saving efforts from year to year. While we are not producing enough surplus food to support a CSA operation, or farmers’ market sales, we do manage to put a significant dent in our own grocery budget through our food production and preservation efforts.
We process our own chickens and turkeys. At present, we are raising about 50 meat chickens and 40 turkeys each year. We process our own meat on site, using the cone method. We begin each animal processing day with a ceremony to honor the spirits of the animals, and then use methods as swift and humane as possible to do the work. These work days are open to others; we are happy to teach this process. For fuller details, and a detailed account of our philosophical interest in this process, please see the animal processing entries on our blog, and this article.
Currently, we are offering two poultry processing workshops every year, in July & October. These classes are hands-on, and designed to teach you how to process your own poultry from live bird to ready-for-the-oven, including a detailed, informative, hands-on approach to every step of the process. After completing this class, you will be able to process your own backyard poultry. Many people are drawn to this work for a variety of reasons — because they are raising their own chickens or other poultry, or because they want to learn to have a personal relationship with a meat animal, and engage with this ancient process on a very human level.
We also offer a class called Community Tools, taught by Tristan, which covers consensus process, as well as our various project management and decision making and facilitation tools. This is a very useful class for anybody who works with a collaborative group, whether that group is at work, in your community, or as part of an intentional-community process. This class will be offered again in August.
To hear about our workshops and classes, please sign up for our mailing list!
In the past, Jenny has taught one-day hands-on classes on cheese-making, canning, and drip irrigation systems. If there’s something you’d like to see us offer, please let us know!
We host monthly Work Parties, during which everyone is welcome to come join us in whatever farm project is taking our focus at the moment. Work parties may focus on anything from canning, to earthbag wall building, to animal harvest, to tilling & planting the garden, or any number of other things. Work is varied, and there are always multiple small projects that need to be done as well as whatever large project is that day’s agenda. We can always use a hand with lunch preparation and childcare as well. We provide a hearty vegetarian lunch for all volunteers, and send everyone home with farm goods such as jam or eggs.