Sticks & Stones Farm Seeks Steward: Owner Tim Currier Readies Torch for Passing
Jun 09, 2017 11:44AM
● By Nicole Miale
Tim Currier began as a stone mason by trade, but during the 41 years he’s been the driving force behind Newtown’s educational retreat Sticks & Stones Farm, he has added a lot of job titles to his resume. They include road builder, riverkeeper, log home architect, moss farmer, organic farmer, labyrinth builder, camp leader and landlord, among others. Mostly, he’s been the steward of the 60 acres of trees and rock that dominate the hilly terrain he and his family have called home.
“What I have learned during this time is that it’s absolutely possible to live and run a sustainable place like this without raping the land,” Currier reflects. “You can tell a lot has been done here but it doesn’t look like the land has been worked. That is by design.”
A working preserve currently home to homeschool programs as well as wilderness camps and high-end camping experiences in rustic cabins, Sticks & Stones has been Currier’s mission and labor of love for decades. But each year the farm is worked for six months and then given “six months to rest,” Currier explains. When the Newtown farm rests, Currier spends his time on a remote property in Hawaii. Over time, the lure of the community he’s forming on the Hawaiian islands grows stronger; now Currier sees his primary job as the finding of a successor to act as steward for the moss mountain.
“I really would just like this place to keep going and I am convinced it can continue to be self-sustaining,” he says. “And the reality is, if you want a place like this today, this one is it. This just wouldn’t be possible to create now. There are too many rules against things now. When we were doing things over the years, there were no rules against them so we could create what we wanted and explain it later on. It’s a lot harder to do that today.”
Currier says his vision for the property always included camps of various kinds. As long ago as 1973, he brought in busloads of children from Bridgeport so they could experience nature. These days, regular camps are run by Two Coyotes Wilderness School, which rents space for its innovative year-round kids’ programs. Adult visitors are welcome to rent the two houseboats, five cabins and tent camping platforms for short or long-term stays via reservations on Airbnb and HipCamp. Two other homes on the property are long-term rentals, while the main farm building, called the stone barn, is the hub for the many diverse activities. The buildings are complete, Currier says, but they need maintenance and someone to oversee the next phase of the farm’s evolution.
“The plate has been created,” he explains. “We’re inviting people to come and fill it according to their vision for the property.”
He’s hoping that by 2018 the farm will have a new steward to steer it into the future, with Currier continuing to be involved as co-owner or advisor. “I’m really open to how it looks in terms of the agreement and set-up of an arrangement,” he says. “I just know I’m meant to spend more time in Hawaii and less here. That means finding someone to be responsible for what is here, to make sure it continues.”
In addition to the structures and property itself, Currier says the almost 10-acre moss garden developed over the past 20 years is just waiting for someone to tend and restore it to its previous place as one of the foremost moss farms in the country. The moss has been sold over the years in two ways: in blocks of sod and on stone, known as “living stone”.
“Everything leads to the other,” Currier muses. “I initially became interested in moss because I was carbon-dating stone walls and became curious about what was growing on the stones. Then, years later, the moss became the reason I was able to sell the stone, because it was living stone… the rock was just the delivery mechanism for the moss. Everything that was ever sold from here came back somehow.”
Currier remains passionate about the potential for the farm and the need for its rustic, nature-based educational mission. “Service work is going to be the good and successful work of the future,” he says. “This property will give someone a great opportunity to carry on the work that has been started and continue to give children and adults the chance to be in nature.”
Nicole Miale is publisher of Natural Awakenings Fairfield County/Housatonic Valley, CT. Connect with her at [email protected].
For more information about the opportunity with Sticks and Stones Farm, call Tim Currier at 808-640-5540. For general information about the farm, visit SticksAndStones.com. The farm is located at 201 Huntingtown Rd, Newtown. See ad, page 17.