NFI is a 501(3)c nonprofit fostering community access to food and other crops that benefit our local ecosystem. We aim to provide the Norwell community with hands-on education in regenerative land practices and an outdoor space that celebrates our Town’s historic Jacobs Farm as a gathering place.
**Why “regenerative”? The key difference between regenerative agriculture and sustainable agriculture is the intention to regenerate, or renew, the productivity and growth potential of whatever is being regenerated. Sustainable practices, by definition, seek to maintain the same, whereas regenerative practices recognize that natural systems are currently impacted and it applies management techniques to restore the system to improved productivity. Regenerative and sustainable actions can use essentially the same practices, the difference is the application and the management of those tools.
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In 2009, Norwell Town Meeting voted to fund the start up of a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) on town land. The town, led by the Norwell Community Preservation Committee, the Norwell Historical Commission and the Norwell Conservation Commission selected a 1.64-acre parcel of town-owned preserved farmland at the historic Jacobs Farmstead to be the site of the new CSA farm.
In February 2010, Norwell Farms was incorporated and received its 501 (c) (3) public charity status in June 2011. Its Board of Directors, comprised mostly of Norwell residents, guides the non-profit activities and leads fundraising efforts for the organization.
In the Fall of 2012, the Town of Norwell granted Norwell Farms a 3-year renewable license to expand our community farm operation to include 7.34 acres at historic Jacobs Farm and an additional 1.5 acres at Barstow Field on River Street.
In January 2013, the Board of Directors split Norwell Farms into two separate entities. Norwell Farms Inc. (NFI) is a farm-based education nonprofit and a 501(c)(3) public charity. Norwell Farms CSA runs the farm operations and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the nonprofit.
With community donations, NFI constructed a greenhouse in Spring 2013, purchased a John Deere tractor and farming implements, installed electricity to the greenhouse and added a walk-in cooler. In Fall of 2014, the Norwell Town Meeting voted $50,000 to allow the Historical Commission and Norwell Farms to partner to rejuvenate historic Jacobs Farm, and to add infrastructure to accommodate modern farming practices. We brought electricity to the barns and dug a new well to irrigate our vegetable fields.