Meet Our Members | April 2021

Name and Occupation: Rachel and Liz Freierman, Farmers/Owners

Business: Highwater Farm

Rachel and Liz Freierman met when they both worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) in environmental education.

 

Rachel grew up in Cambridge MA and has a BA in Environmental Science. She began working at the AMC in 2007 and is now fulltime Youth Education Programs Manager. In the past, she worked as an outdoor educator in South Africa, a ski patroller at Wildcat Mountain, and a soccer coach. Rachel is certified as a Wilderness First Responder and is a volunteer firefighter.  

Liz grew up in Boxford MA and worked at a plant nursery in high school. She then did farm work overseas and in Vermont. Liz is also an accomplished woodworker. She completed a certificate program at a design/build school in Vermont and worked for a timber-framing mill in Lancaster, NH for three years. Now, in addition to running their small farm, Liz does small timber-frame projects in the off-season.

“I have always had a strong connection to environmental work,” Rachel explains. “Liz and I want to create a family lifestyle where we can teach our children to be connected to the earth and the environment. We want to produce our own food as much as possible and share our knowledge on a community level.”

“We love working together as a family with our two children, Asa and Wilder. Even at three, Asa can already recognize the different plants. It’s particularly nice working in the high tunnel on a rainy day. You can stay dry and listen to the rain falling while you work.”

“Our farm is small,” Liz adds. “We farm about ½ acre of our land and lease another ½ acre across the river.  We’re not certified organic, but we use only organic practices. We raise all kinds of vegetables plus raspberries and blackberries.”

“And it’s helpful to have an additional source of income that I can do at home while taking care of our children. My carpentry and construction skills are also useful for all the daily small projects in setting up a farm. Farming and construction work are a natural pairing.”

Rachel and Liz started farming on rented land in the Mount Washington Valley in 2010 and were able to buy their farm in Bartlett by 2018. The property was affordable because it’s in a flood plain.

“I wish more people knew about all the barriers to starting a small farm,” Rachel says. “You don’t need a lot of land to get started. People are surprised to learn that our farm is this small and located in a residential community. We’re constantly concerned about the health of our soil in such a small area. But the most important thing is being additive about food in an equitable way to the community.”

“And we’re still learning. Last year we launched an online ordering system and opened a farm stand on our property. This year we’re launching a new farmers’ market at the North Conway Community Center that will be open every Tuesday evening from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.”

“We’re interested in living with the natural world. We want to produce quality food in a sustainable manner. We hope to eventually build an educational space where we can teach others to grow and learn about sustainable food production.”

Rachel and Liz are also committed to paying reparations to BIPOC farmers.

“Farming has a long history of inequity regarding indigenous and farmers of color,” Rachel states. “As a white-owned farm profiting from food grown on stolen land and 400 years of systemic oppression, we’re committed to paying reparations to the Abenaki and Wabanaki people as well as to BIPOC-owned farms.”

 

—Interview and Article by Karl Johnson, Board President

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