SeedChange was birthed as an idea 15 years ago at 49th and Springfield, in a West Philly community house. Dreaming into a vision of deep group work, community, farm and healing for the survival of our species, SeedChange stayed a seed through farming education, facilitation and training experience, birthing babies and risking much moving up to land in Vermont.
Open Way Farm started in 2013, when the Carter-Pearson family moved to Templeton Road. This land is unceded Abenaki territory, and we seek to repair the harm of ancestors and their choices that led to the forcible removal of the first people on these lands. We, as settlers and majority white folks on this land, explore decolonization in practices of tithing to Abenaki led organizations, and in decolonizing the supremacist notions that lead people to think the land is something to be used and extracted from for personal use. We hold value in de-centering whiteness and showing up fully to the work of liberation for all beings.
The story of settler identity that leads directly to the existence of Open Way Farm is one of the Holden family. John and Polly Holden first bought the house at 800 Templeton Road in 1933, on an original acre, for $500. John built a woodshed in the 1980s in the yard, and joked that the cost of the shed was the same as the house. They named the house Grassy Ledge. After spending summers here with their growing family, the Holden family moved up to the land in 1949 on a permanent basis. John, Polly, and their children Sally, Spike, Bonnie, and Martha, moved onto the land and started the life of hospitality, service, and care of the land that acts as the good ground for Open Way.
As the Holden family lived and grew on the land, so did their landholdings. By the 1970s, they owned 80 acres of adjacent property. The land itself is part of the Vermont Land Trust, one of the earlier trusts in the organization, dating back to the early 1980s. As John and Polly aged, and moved on from the land, they divided up the property among the siblings, and Open Way Farm is roughly half of the original Holden property.
We honor the family that has made this project possible. We honor the families, histories, and peoples we do not know who were on the land before us. We seek to reckon with these histories, and live in right relationship with all these ancestors. May we come to know this land deeply, and share with this land at Open Way.