Hello Friends! A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a full moon potuck gathering at Snaggy Mountain Farm. Located in Burnsville, NC it is a beautiful 67 acre farm that is home to an awesome, creative family of souls: Jared, Matthew, Brad, Scott, an assortment of animals and an ever changing tribe of nomads. Jared agree to take time out from his busy life running the farm to answer some questions about what's it's like to live and work in community with others.
Victoria:Tell me about Snaggy Mountain Farm and your work building community there.
Jared: Snaggy Mountain is essentially a homestead with an emphasis on music, art, permaculture and opening our doors to the world. We're growing a lot of food, planting a lot of trees, making a lot of music, building cabins, and hosting a continual flow of people from around the world.
Victoria: What inspired you to take this on and what are some of the challenges you've experienced?
Jared: The inspiration of Snaggy Mountain grew from my past experiences of "open door homesteading" where in Boone I created a small community house/homestead that simultaneously focused on sustainability, arts, and gatherings. That's where this lifestyle began for me, hosting people through Couchsurfing.com and having art and music based parties. It felt good deep down, and still proves to be the best way of life I've yet to find. It really quite simple and natural, just people living together, getting back to the land, being artists, making music, pursuing something other than money, sharing meals every night, creating and singing together, sharing our art, and always with new faces dropping by. Over time an acre was no longer enough land to facilitate the vision, and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come out here and live on my Granddad's old dairy farm.
Victoria: Who currently lives and works at Snaggy Mountain Farm?
Jared: Snaggy Mountain currently consists of a continual flow of WWOOFers, couch surfers and traveling artists, a couple long term friends of mine and myself.
Victoria: What has been your experience living and working with Woofers, work exchangers and others that come and stay there?
Jared: Hosting people year round is wild life, but well worth it, and the quality of folks that come through is remarkable. It's not surprising that most people who are willing to travel around working on farms are genuinely great. I've met my best friends hosting throughout the years, and it's amazing how they just show up one day at your doorstep and immediately become a main character in your life.
Victoria: What most excites you about building community?
Jared: The excitement of this place is everywhere and everyone. Besides all of the great meals and jams shared, and the continual dance of communal living, its inspiring to just stop from time to time and look at how much has happened because of all the teamwork. The vision of the farm continues unfolding one day, one project, and one person at a time.
Victoria: What's the most valuable lesson you've learned?
Jared: The most important thing I've learned is that the real miracles in life happen when people are together, fearlessly and lovingly being themselves.
Victoria: Are you connected with similar communities or projects? Can you tell us about them?
Jared: We are connected with multiple farms and groups in the surrounding area. Some include Mountain Gardens, Wiebe farms, Aardvark Farms, and on and on. Burnsville is a close knit town so all the farmers get to know one another over time. I also work for TRAC (Toe River Arts Council) and teach music and juggling here in the local school systems.
Victoria: What are your views about the nomadic lifestyle? Do you see it as a reaction to our current economic system, a desire to live more authentically or both?
Jared: I've lived the nomadic lifestyle a good bit and think that it's important to do so from time to time. There's nothing like it really, to be blowing around in the wind, following your heart through the countryside. I always think of George Harrison's quote "if you don't know where you're going, any road'll take you there". The nomadic lifestyle seems to be a more authentic classroom for the more authentic seekers.
Victoria: Do you see an overall trend away from individually-focused, consumer based living toward community focused, shared economy based living? Can you comment about that?
Jared: Even amidst the majority of factory farmed Americans who are stubborn to change, I do sense a growing number of people working towards a better way of life. However, I think that collectively we're still procrastinating change due to laziness and fear. Perhaps once enough of us cut our ties with this toxic system and start harmonizing with one another and the earth we'll achieve the 100th monkey effect.
Victoria: Do you plan to write about your experiences in a journal or blog?
Jared: I do hope to make progress on a blog and a youtube channel this winter. I'm also in the works of publishing a handy guide book on wild edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms.
Victoria: Where do you envision Snaggy Mountain Farm in five years? You personally?
Jared: Five years from now I see Snaggy Mountain full of little cabins tucked throughout the land and hopeful we'll still be hosting artists and musicians like we do now. Also we hope to start hosting concerts and other gatherings. Part of the ultimate vision is to build a huge rock stage in the valley where there is already a huge natural amphitheater, hopefully it'll be up and running half a decade from now.
Victoria: Anything else you want to share?
Jared: Knowing and using wild edible plants and mushrooms is a surefire way to be healthier, wilder, and take less trips to the grocery store.
Thanks Jared! We appreciate your time and your wisdom. For more information about Snaggy Mountain Farm visit http://snaggymountain.com/