ifarm utilizes a restored 19th century farmstead to reconnect the individual with the earth. The goal is to provide diverse educational experiences that utilize core values of sustainability, rejuvenation, and thoughtful design that both individuals and communities can incorporate into their own environment, experiences and life.
Permaculture landscaping is based on a working partnership with natures’ cycles to create vibrant, organic, perennial food forests, while protecting our environment. The three-acre permaculture garden at ifarm began in 2012 in collaboration with Landscapes by Lillabeth, LLC. The garden’s thoughtful design is based on the twelve principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.
The vision for ifarm began in 2009, with the purchase of the property. The land was extracted from the clutches of a local residential developer who had envisioned subdividing the space into five MacMansions along with demolishing the historic farmhouse and barns. In 2012, based on it’s significance as one of Essex County’s last intact Federal Era farmsteads, the farm was inducted by the Massachusetts Historical Commission into the U.S. Department of Interior’s Registry of Historic Places.
Starting with Benjamin Nutter Architects, LLC and including Preservation Timber Framing, Inc., Howell Custom Building Group, Inc. and more recently Landscapes by Lillabeth, LLC, the restoration of ifarm has progressed over the years in a stately fashion. The motto we live by is, “What would the 19th century farmer do?” Other phrases that serve as guides include: “it pays to drag your feet”, “with unlimited time, you can do anything”, and “don’t do stupid things to cool stuff.”
The Towne family immigrated from England to Massachusetts in the mid-17th century. Four generations later, in 1790, John Towne built the farmhouse that stands today. Considerable availability of Towne family history along with artifacts found on-site provide a detailed profile of what life was like on the farm for five generations (1790 to 1933).