An 'intentional community'

01 10 communal farm mug EjarqueAlton farm being groomed as a communal living project


ALTON — Nearly 50 acres of farmland here could become home to an "intentional community," a group of people growing their own food and living communally, based on the vision of a retired aeronautics engineer.
On Thursday, the architect of this community welcomes interested people to attend a meeting in Durham to explore the idea.
Peter Ejarque of Durham said he is a retired engineer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with an interest in sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.
"By trade I'm an aerospace engineer. I used to work for NASA. I've lived in a community before, and I'm really fascinated by this," Ejarque said.
The farm he envisions is called "Sunburst."
"I've had a lot of interest. We've had a lot of people apply already," Ejarque said.
But the idea remains in the planning phase.
"We're still in our infancy. We don't have any buildings up on the farm yet," Ejarque said.
According to his Craigslist ad, "Sunburst is a community with plans to be self-supporting, providing jobs through intense aquaculture, hydroponics, beekeeping, internet business, recumbent-bicycle making, and the production of electric bicycles and trikes. Sunburst is a home for those who share high ideals and who know that tomorrow is built today. We are presently in the formative stages: We now own 50 acres of farmland and are in the process of purchasing another 45 acres on which to build our buildings and residential housing. We are building the relationships and the organizational foundations of a community. We are planning on building a cluster of energy-efficient mini-homes/moveable mini-homes on trailers and developing a conference and education center which will demonstrate conservation of energy resources and sustainable agriculture."
Nic Strong, town planner for Alton, confirmed that Ejarque owns 46 acres on Coffin Brook Road in Alton.
"He did get a building permit to put up a couple of pole type greenhouses for his personal use which have not yet been constructed," Strong reported in an email to the Sun. "The property is located in the Rural District, and Agriculture is a permitted use in that district. Depending on the particular agricultural use that is proposed for a property, it may require a minor site plan with the Planning Board. No applications have been submitted to the Alton Planning Board."
Ejarque explained, "We are presently in the formative stages."
The community could spread out to encompass 140 acres, including the nearly 50 acres of farmland in Alton and 48 acres on Lake Wentworth. Another 46 acres about four miles from the Alton site in Barnstead are owned by a nearby property owner who is interested in Ejarque's vision of building residential housing, also in a communal-living style and possibly as an adjunct to the farm, Ejarque said.
Ejarque explained that he learned about the 46-acre site in Barnstead about four months ago, and this discovery of a potential housing hub ignited his interest in gathering a community of people at Alton to generate food on an educational farm.
"We're trying to get this thing to take off. We're not sure how many members we want to have on the farm, in the community, but we have about 15 people who are really interested," Ejarque said.
Ejarque said he lived in an intentional community in Twin Oaks, Virginia. The key is to find like-minded people who will contribute to the farming and living effort, he said.
"We're trying to provide a place where someone can work in in exchange for free room and board," he said.
Ejarque expects to host monthly meetings, with the idea of screening participants. People who have "tiny homes and/or small homes on trailers" are invited to join the community. Ejarque said he plans to bring in two large greenhouses in the spring. He also envisions two storage containers, electric fencing and a small moat around the greenhouses for irrigation. If the project takes off, the farm could include cutting-edge growing methods and solar power.
Citing experience at NASA with hydroponics, the science of growing plants without soil, Ejarque said his home in Durham features a composting heating system, where woodchips and horse manure organically heat up a system of piping.

Many of these areas of study would be incorporated at Sunburst, according to his Craigslist meeting notice.

"The community house will include a pro-type aquaculture system utilizing fish and vegetables. Also we plan to install an underground thermal storage tank for our compost heating system combined with our solar hot water and rocket stoves. This spring we will be putting up another greenhouse for our hydroponic gardens. In addition we will be building a 'living pond' and constructing two sheds to house our rabbits and chickens," he wrote.
Sunburst is ideal "if somebody wants to quit their dead-end job and come out and live on a farm and come out to a community and support it, build up a farm where you can generate your own money," Ejarque said.
Some of the produce may end up in local grocery stores, based on his early inquiries, he said. The intentional community would not hinge on religious affiliation or any kind of "cult" mentality, Ejarque said.
"We're looking for people with a sense of the future and who have some grand ideas and want to change the world," he said.

For more information about Sunburst, visit the Fellowship for Intentional Community at
The meeting in Durham is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Anyone interested in attending is asked to make a reservation first via


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Peter Ejarque's house in Durham features renewable energy systems and a spot for his electric car. Ejarque hopes to convert a farm in Alton into an "intentional community," a place for people to live communally and grow food. (Courtesy photo)

Hip-hop poet Aaron Jaffer is in Tamworth this week

TAMWORTH — Spoken-word poet and playwright Aaron Jafferis takes Tamworth by storm through Jan. 13. Through hip-hop theater and performance poetry, Jafferis explores human identity. Using rhythm and verbs he tells his story of growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, with honesty and honor, and teaches us to tell our own.

Arts Council of Tamworth welcomes Jafferis for a weeklong artist's residency, culminating in a final performance on Friday, Jan. 13, at the Tamworth Lyceum at 7 p.m. Jafferis and beatboxer Chris Celiza will perform Aaron's original work, "Smooth Criminal," "the story of a nerdy New Haven kid desperate to liberate his people—as soon as he can figure out who they are." Tickets are "Choose Your Own Ticket Price": Adults, $5-$30, Kids, $0-$5 and can be reserved online at Coffee and small plates will be available for purchase.

Aaron Jafferis is a hip-hop poet and playwright whose honors include a Creative Capital Award, Richard Rodgers Award, Sundance Institute/Time Warner Fellowship, NEFA National and a MacDowell Fellowship.

"I write to link my personal experience with what's happening in the world," said Jafferis. The mission of Arts Council of Tamworth is to inspire and empower our rural community through exposure to and collaboration with master artists and performers representing diverse cultures and art forms.

This residency is funded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies. Support also comes from area sponsors: The Other Store, BEAM Construction, Club Motorsports, Cooper Cargill & Chant, Settler's Green, White Mountain Oil & Propane, White Mountain Survey & Engineering, Winnipesaukee Driving School.


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Aaron Jafferis

The Art Place – The art of Tim Campbell

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by Barbara Gibbs
The Art Place

Tim Campbell identifies with the term of outsider art, which was coined by an art critic in 1972 as an English synonym for "art brut"– French, meaning raw art or rough art. The critic, Roger Cardinal, used this term to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture. The term outsider art is often applied more broadly to include self-taught or naïve art makers. Campbell's work reflects his sharp sense of humor, and interest in primitive folk art as well as contemporary political and religious imagery. His work covers a vast range of subjects, including North American birds, his "Animals as People" series, and folk-style map paintings. He also loves to create caricature-like portraits, accentuating odd features and stretching proportions to fit the look he wants. "I like anything that's not right. I don't like perfect things."

His collection of maps includes one of Lake Winnipesaukee with our own "Nessy" popping up out of the water. Tim's collection of birds includes a robin, cardinal, chickadee, goldfinch, as well as New Hampshire's own purple finch. Of course, he has added a loon or two to the collection. This series demonstrates a more specific and detailed approach to his art. He paints his native New Hampshire fish series in a more Americana style. Having a birthday on October 31, Tim has made a lot of images relating to the Halloween holiday. He has an entire series of popular Halloween scenes and images that he has made into cards. These and other holiday cards go over very well. Tim states, "My work is both thought provoking and humorous. It has taken Folk Art to a new level." Tim also creates sculptural pieces. "They are created entirely from recycled wood and metal. Using vintage pieces for my painted furniture gives them a primitive appearance. Each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind."

Tim was born in Keene, New Hampshire, and decided to be an artist in second grade when he beat even high schoolers in an art competition. Later on, Campbell actually failed an art class in high school, but didn't let it kill his passion. Tim's art career has flourished since then, and his work can be found in galleries around the United States and internationally. In 2010, Campbell was honored with the highest award as a traditional artisan in "The Early American Life" magazine's Directory of Traditional American Crafts.

Campbell works in his studio in Keene, New Hampshire, with his dog Otis, a Jack Russell terrier who keeps him company while he works, and serves as a muse for this whimsical self-taught artist. His original art, as well as prints, can be seen at The Art Place in downtown Wolfeboro.

Hermit Woods is only NH winery to make Food & Wine's 'Best Wineries' list


Left to right, Ken Hardcastle, Chuck Lawrence,  and Bob Manley 

(Photos courtesy of Hermit Woods Winery)

MEREDITH — "What happens when you combine local ingredients - like berries, flowers and honey - with traditional winemaking techniques like fermentation until dry, then give them extended barrel aging? If you are the three partners in this venture, you have a hit on your hands..." writes the editor of Food & Wine Magazine.

Food & Wine has included Hermit Woods Winery on its list of Best 500 Wineries in America in its 2017 Wine Guide. Hermit Woods is the only winery in New Hampshire, one of only two in New England, and one of only 20 wineries in all of the Northeast – including New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey – to be included on this list.

Hermit Woods is on the list alongside some of the country's most prestigious wineries, including Napa Valley's Caymus Vineyards, who helped put California on the map in the early 70s; Harlan Estates; Opus One; Robert Mondavi; and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars, famous for winning the "Judgement of Paris Tasting" in 1976 with their Cabernet Sauvignon. Also on the list are New York's well-known Bedell Cellars, Dr. Konstantin Frank Cellars, and Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, arguably one of the Northeast's most recognized brands.

But what is most notable about Hermit Woods Winery's inclusion on the list is the fact that it may be the only winery on the list not producing wine from grapes. Hermit Woods has developed its reputation for crafting classically styled, often barrel aged wines from the fruit that is native to New England.

Partner and Vintner Ken Hardcastle explains it this way, "Having developed a love for some of the world's finest wines from Burgundy and other classic wine regions of the world, we are exploring the depth and character that can be developed from our local fruits and the terroir that exists here in our part of the world. This is where we live, so we craft wine from the fruits that grow best here." Hardcastle's approach is a significant departure from the more common sweet fruit wine that the Northeast is better known for.

Hermit Woods first came to the attention of Food & Wine when its wine editor, Ray Isle, had a chance to sample the Hermit Woods Petite Blue Reserve, a wild blueberry wine crafted in the style of a Burgundy. Shortly thereafter, Isle asked Hermit Woods if it would mind if he shared its Petite Blue with Kathie Lee and Hoda on NBC's Today Show.

In the few short years, just six, since Hermit Woods was founded, many of the Hermit Woods wines have won medals at some of the East's most notable wine competitions, most recently taking home several medals, including a tie for "Best Mead," at "Drink Outside the Grape," a Virginia-based wine competition for fruit wine, cider and mead.

Bob Manley, one of Hermit Woods' three partners, said, "All of us here at Hermit Woods are so proud to be given this honor. We have worked very hard over the past six years to produce the finest quality wines that we can produce, the inclusion of our winery on this list validates all our hard work."

Manley wanted to thank the many Hermit Woods guests who have gone on this journey with them and contributed to getting the word out about the exciting things that Hermit Woods is doing here in Meredith. "Without them, we would not have achieved this milestone," he said.

Founded in 2011, Hermit Woods Winery is a small boutique winery producing fruit wine, meads, and ciders. "Our wines and ciders are local, as much as possible, vegan – except the honey wines, gluten free, raw and made from non-certified but mostly organic fruit. We always use whole fruit, never use heat, and always use gentle hand processing. Our wines, meads, and ciders are made with minimal to no chemical adjustments or additions and are styled after the classic dry European grape wines," explained Hardcastle. Hermit Woods sees more than 8,000 visitors at its tasting room every year, and its wines are available throughout New Hampshire and direct to consumer in 37 states.

Hermit Woods is located at 72 Main Street in Meredith. The winery is open seven days a week in the summer and fall and five days a week in the winter and spring. Wine tastings are offered during all open hours, while tours are available on weekends or by appointment. Visit to learn more.


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