This center is a zoned for agriculture, and is a "farm tourism” designation. We are setting up a non-profit, called Surprise Farm Retreat Center.
Surprise Farm Retreat Center offers educational programs in the surround of nature, organic farming, and heritage sites.
The experience of being in place, with creative intentional community, encourages well-being.
Our Mission includes learning from each other about meaning and purpose, in workshops and around the firepit.
We seek a caring and sustainable interaction between human nature and Nature, inviting Nature to heal us.
The Surprise Farm Experience
Surprise Farm Retreat Center offers a place in nature to renew and reconnect. With educational workshops, camping, and hands-on farming, we seek to co-create an environment in support of a caring and sustainable world. Engagement with our place in history, and relation to the non-human, can re-wild our creativity.
Non-profit status allows us to provide educational programs, and to receive donations and grants.
We would like you to be involved. Below is our Mission Statement crafted for non-profit status.
1) an Advisory Council of collaborators,
2) Surprise Farm Membership, both to work with a Board of Directors for more hand’s-on decision-making.
(The terms and duties for all include periodic celebratory community gatherings ;-)).
1) With a passion for the Mission and its implementation, Advisory Council members advise, network, and befriend the community enterprise. They engage, participate, and help invent . . . in periodic meetings and on-line exchange. They may take leadership in an event or workshop.
3) Members contribute their best ideas, membership donation, and/or site shovel-work to co-create intentional community. Members participate in the news and invitations to community events, get reduced workshop fees (and cabin rentals, once we get them built ;-)).
Please in the next mail or days, send your thoughts and feelings, and commitment. If schedules fit, we plan to "sage in" a September 2nd Board meeting.
First order of business: messages from declared Advisory Council folks and Members.
Warmbest, Ute & Don
About the name: the discovery of unique gemstones at Surprise Mine in 1903 is credited to “Mrs. Booth, who noticed a few garnets sticking in the pegmatite.”
Mrs. Booth’s residence, 500’ south of the mine, had an earlier history. In the 1890’s it was the Luckett stagecoach stop, linking San Diego to Julian gold mines and passage to the railroad in Anza-Borrego. The foundation of the stage-stop can be seen beside Old Wagon Road, which we still use.
In the 1890’s, were the Ipai still using this site’s nearby grinding holes in boulders to harvest and process acorn? Their presence of family life remains, for our visitation. Same oak trees overhead, with history as surround. For 12,000 years (before the pyramids) the Ipai natives migrated from desert to ocean, stopping beside creeks to set up a seasonal kitchen.
Now, we are the temporary tenants of some untouched riparian groves and high desert chaparral. Beauty surrounds us, in a place to learn from each other, and from the non-human.
The present use of Surprise Farm as nature retreat and organic farm offers simple lessons. Growing food requires attention to soil (soul) and season. Attention to “all our relations” is healing practice.
In these foothills of the Laguna mountain range, climate niches are amazing in their adaptations, and ask us to pay attention. We’re at the edge of snowfall and coastal fog, subject to devil winds off the desert. The plants in natural habitat have their strategy. Some wildflowers rush into bloom, some wait for more rain. Sage has it figured out, offering incense all year around.
Surprise farming . . . Avocado and citrus at this elevation is edgy, as we explore what wants to grow, what’s sustainable. The flowering and set of fruit on apple and plum explore our nature. Plants and community need roots.
Surprise Farm retreats seek to restore balance, harmony, and relationship. The surround of nature teaches.
If we experience the creative and the kind in community, then more likely we can embody authentic selves out into the world, and thus make a difference.