Have you ever dreamed of living the farmer’s life? Do you have a way with words? Then you could be the next owner of Bluebird Hill Farm in Bennett, N.C.
Norma Burns, who’s been running the site since 1998, now yearns for a slightly busier environment and plans to move an hour’s drive east to Raleigh. Instead of selling her USDA organic certified farm, she is giving it away to the duo who pens the best 200-word essay titled, “Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm.”
“To me, there’s no better calling in life than raising organic food,” said Burns in a press release. “I’m looking for a like-minded couple who have experience and training in organic farming and are willing and able to put in the long days and hard work that farming requires. The only thing they don’t have is an actual farm. I want to make it possible for these new farmers to get started.”
The winners will receive the title to the nearly 13-acre property, which features a barn (complete with an adorable cat named Barney), a furnished 2-bedroom farmhouse, a lavender field, and two ponds. Also included are a greenhouse, a coop that can comfortably fit 10 laying hens, John Deere equipment, and a distiller to make lavender essential oil. Burns will also introduce the new owners to the farm’s suppliers and community, and $50,000 cash will be given for transition costs if she receives enough applications (the contest entry fee is $300). In turn, the winners must agree to continue running Bluebird Hill as an organic farm. During her time there, Burns specialized in herbs and produce and sold essential oils, fresh and dried herbs, rubbing spices, and herbal teas at local businesses.
This life may sound perfect, but before you start drafting your masterpiece, check out these key requirements. Applicants must apply as pairs in a “committed” relationship; examples include married couples or a parent-child duo. This is crucial to Burns, who has been running the farm by herself since her husband passed; she learned firsthand that “it needs at least two people to do it right.” Also, at least one applicant must be between 25 and 50 years old “to ensure that the winning couple has the life experience and physical stamina that active farming requires.” Entrants must also provide references and submit resumes outlining their experiences in growing organically and sustainably; design, construction, and experience; and marketing and publicity. All entries must be postmarked by June 1, 2017.