Lost Meadow Land Coop

570 acres

Property Owner:

Other private organization (educational, religious, for-profit, etc.)

Contact Name:

Dan Breslaw

Property Location:

End of Lost Meadow Road, West Corinth, Vermont
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The Land

Total number of acres available with this property:


Total acres available for agriculture:


Acres of forested land:


Acres of cropland or tillable land:


Acres of pasture:


Other open and/or non-farmable land:

There are several wetlands on the property, but they are fairly small--mostly around the headwaters of our stream beds. Other portions of the land are probably too steep for anything that could be described as "agriculture", despite the fact that some agroforestry is being considered. Acreage figures are impossible--it's all far too subjective.

Quality of land:

The land was largely sheep pasture till the mid-19th Century; then reverted to mixed-use homesteading through the mid-1940's, when agriculture on the property essentially ceased. There was never the kind of serious dairy operation that took hold in much of Vermont. There remains some level, open land suitable for grazing livestock; during our tenure we have expanded this with help from NRCS programs. Some of the surrounding low hills could be cleared on top to further expand grazing area. We mow as much as we can annually to try and bring more of it into grass. Soils are mix of BvC (Buckland stony loam) and TbD (Tunbridge-Woodstock rocky fine sandy loam. To our knowledge no chemicals have ever been applied. We've done some soil testing with good results, plus some liming. Drainage is generally good. Plenty of southern exposure. Minor sloping. A regular program of soil amendment, seeding, manuring, and cover cropping would improve productivity.

Farm Information

Water sources present:


Water sources details:

The quality of our water is unusually good and has been tested pure. All supply is spring fed and comes out of sizable wetland areas, with tiles sunk deep into the water table. Quantity is ample for dwellings, livestock, pond, and gardening, even in dry seasons. Access exists from all potential livestock areas. Gravity pressure to all dwellings.

Barns and sheds:


Farmer housing:


Farmer housing details:

Several houses that are currently being rented could become permanent housing. New sites possible, depending on land-use factors and practical limits. Options for temporary housing exist, both on the land and nearby. All building projects are subject to collaborative review, with chief consideration given to requirements of site-holders.

Equipment and machinery:


Equipment and machinery details:

Coop currently has a 4WD tractor (John Deere 950), with bush hog and backhoe, plus a one-ton dump truck (Ford F350) with snowplow. There are several coop members with mechanical and/or building experience, including solar installation. We have a well-equipped shop, a common barn storage space, and a wide assortment of hand and power tools.

Farm infrastructure details:

Several of the houses have small barns; all have sheds for storage or gardening. There is one large barn-like structure used for various purposes, including a shop, but is not generally suitable as a main facility for agriculture. The need for additional barn space would depend on the type of farming undertaken.

Tenure Arrangement

Tenure arrangement:



Members own the land in common via their stake in the Coop; individual members own their own dwellings, plus any outbuildings or infrastructure that belong specifically to the site. The Coop has a set of bylaws outlining its governance, and a standard ground-lease agreement that grants siteholders the right of occupancy and sets forth the terms that define it (both documents available on request). Membership gives siteholders land use access to any and all farm and woodland areas of the property, subject to the Coop's overall mission and intentions. Some sort of trial period for prospective members is expected before final membership is conferred, although full participation in Coop affairs is assumed from the outset.

Additional Information

There are six houses within the property, which has a total acreage of close to 600. The Coop has been in existence for over 25 years, with present membership stable for approximately the past 20. Some of our members are in the process of moving on, creating both the need and the opportunity to move ahead into the future. We are now primarily seeking younger families that share the values of sustainability, are committed to cooperative rural living, and wish to do some sort of serious agriculture on the land.

Lately we've been thinking more about permaculture and agroforestry. Our land is marginal by conventional farming standards, but the techniques needed to work it are the necessary farming of the future. Balanced with this is the simple fact that people have to make a living; this often requires both compromises and a piecing-it-together approach. Enterprises in herbs, small livestock, poultry, agricultural mycology, small-scale dairy, and value-added products could all be part of the picture—as well as things probably yet undiscovered. We will shortly be launching a permaculture design process to assess the potential of the land. We don't expect Coop land to provide a family with a hundred percent of its livelihood; but at least one site should be given over to some sort of anchor farm that other members could actively support. We have close ties with the agricultural community that increasingly surrounds us—in particular with Crossmolina Farm, a vital and successful farm/CSA just down the hill. There is growing interest in biodynamic farming and gardening, as well as regenerative agriculture in general. Agriculturally, this is by any measure a happening part of Vermont; we're fortunate to be located in the midst of it.

Our mission also includes modeling better ways of farming and living. We intend to develop educational programs on the land—possibly with dedicated facilities—but wish to base them on actual practice, not just abstract ideas. All of our member families have been connected with Waldorf education, which values hands-on learning—in particular with the Wellspring School, which was started by some of our members over 25 years ago. Unfortunately the school succumbed a few years ago to financial pressures (this is not an affluent part of the State), but cooperative home-schooling has since become prevalent in the area. We see the latter, not simply as a recourse forced upon us, but as a means of instilling positive values into a community.

The Lost Meadow property is part of the Orange County Headwaters Project, which some of us were involved in starting. Its target area is nearly 40,000 acres in the towns of Corinth and Washington. A great deal of land abutting us has been conserved through this project, with the result that our surroundings are unusually well-protected from development. Wildlife is abundant, tree and plant growth fertile and diverse. One can leave one's dooryard and walk for miles in unbroken forest marked by winding trails, scenic vistas, stone walls, old abandoned homesteads, and remote ponds and brooks. We're committed to maintaining the integrity of all this through land conservation and good forestry practices, and work closely with our foresters to that end. We've been in Current Use from the outset, and carefully follow the management plan that goes along with it.

Finally, a less tangible but no less important aspect of our identity as a coop involves a consensus process in our decision-making, and a commitment to active principles of conflict resolution. We take this very seriously. Our founding assumption—borne out by 25 years of experience—is that no legal or organizational structure, however well-designed, can fulfill its goals without such a commitment on the part of its members. Conflicts and stresses inevitably arise in any group situation; success depends not so much on avoiding them, or reasoning our way out of them, as it does on our willingness to listen, to open our hearts, and to view all points of view with respect and compassion. We subscribe to no common spiritual path or ideology, but this is our bottom line.