Lincoln Geiger

Lincoln Geiger -- Farmer

Lincoln GeigerFarming is more than just the production of food. It is a way of thinking, a necessary connection with the earth. Four Corners Farm is one of Wilton’s oldest, the only dairy farm left in town, and the country’s first CSA – Community Supported Agriculture. How Lincoln Geiger arrived there is a long tale and he told it recently over lunch in the shade at Hilltop Café.

He was born in London in 1948. “My father was a New York film maker and in the middle of a film and that’s how I happened to be born there.” His parents met while she was attending Parsons School of Design.

How did the son of a filmmaker and a fashion designer end up a farmer? “Sort of by osmosis,” he said. “When I was six, we moved to Sweden, and I grew up there. It was a very rural area, they mostly used horses.” It was an ancient town, dating back to at least 900.

 “Mom and Dad gardened a lot, but the old farmer down the road taught me everything I know about farming.”

Four Corners FarmHe still tends to it “the old-fashioned way,” like planting in connection with the moon. “The calendar can tell you a lot about when to plant crops. A lot of people tend to plant too early.” He added, “I’ve studied farming my whole life, by practice, reading, going to lectures. I’m still learning.”

At one point, he said, he and his younger brother founded a farm in southern Sweden “that became a hippie commune. There was a water-powered mill, and we started a business called Mother Earth. After seven years of that, I decided to try something different.”

He lived in several places, including Spain. He came to the United States to visit his parents who had moved back here. “I liked it. It’s more friendly, a whole world full of all kinds of people.” He first went to Boston.

“My son was with me, and I thought about a Waldorf School. Pine Hill School was just starting in Wilton Center. “We bought an old farm in Temple, started farming, and got a bunch of customers.” The landscape in Temple “sort of reminded me of back home,” he said. “The potential here was good. There were a lot of people interested in local food. Farming isn’t easy here, lots of rocks, but it’s easy to get to the people.”

Anthony Graham and his wife rented part of the farmhouse. “He started a garden and then Traugher Groh came, and we started thinking and that’s how the community farm started.” Groh had studied the idea in Germany. “The CSA idea took off. There’s another one in western Massachusetts. We got started together.”

The Waldorf School philosophy fits in. Its founder, Rudolph Steiner, “thought a lot about healthy farms and using less harsh chemicals like arsenic and lead.”

He was inspired by that. “That old farmer neighbor kind of laid the foundation for me, the old-fashioned style.”

Then organic farming came into popularity. It’s basically bio-dynamic, not depending on commercial fertilizers. People are beginning to see where the modern world is leading us and it’s not sustainable. They try to make everything more efficient, and some things don’t work that way. Farming is a place. Where there isn’t much farming left, I’ve noticed how interested people are.”

He is a member of the Temple Conservation Commission. “People need to take some civic responsibility.”

Wild Rose FarmTo promote getting closer to nature, Geiger opened a summer day camp at Four Corners a few years ago, and it will soon open for a new season.  (See Wild Rose Farm/Gaia Educational Outreach Institute at https://www.wildrosefarmnh.org/.)

The camp focuses on the outdoors, understanding ecology, wildlife, and plant diversity. They offer a home school enrichment program, an after school program, and will be offering kindergarten. “We’re going to do an adult program, workshops and lectures this fall – gardening, small livestock, cooking and preserving food, those kinds of things.”

Geiger and his wife Cindy (“she’s still into mid-wifery”) have four grandchildren, “but none of them is a farmer. A lot of kids come through here and some may become farmers. People are moving toward the food relationship with society and nature. We are all about local food. The local economy is important.”

“I had an amazing childhood,” he said. “We skied to school, or biked. There was poverty and it wasn’t easy.” When he went back a few years ago to talk about the CSA idea, “a couple of my grade school classmates came.”

He goes back once in a while to visit grandchildren there. But Four Corners is home. He still has a lot of ideas for it.

 

 

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