Finney Farm began in 1989 by a group of six activists who knew each other through their work in groups like EarthFirst! and publications like Live Wild or Die. They sought to live closer to their ideals, and found a 65 homestead in the Upper Skagit. Originally held by the Upper Skagit tribe, then a blueberry and ginseng farm and later a Girl Scout camp, the land was overgrown and had been abandoned for some years. The original group formed a non-profit land trust to maintain the ownership of the property, and purchased an adjacent 40 acres of raw land in the mid 90s.
Most of the original members were drawn to different endeavors within the first few years, and all eventually moved on. Two of our current members became acquainted with the farm in 1995, and had made it their home in the late 90s. At that time, the farm was a few different looking place—many unfinished projects, overgrown orchards, a teeny garden plot, and blackberries everywhere!
For years the main goal was to recover ground/buildings and bring the landscape back to a manageable state. After much work, some years, and the help of many residents and visitors who came and went…the land was much improved and we felt that we could finally devote some energy to starting new projects and endeavors which have included a half acre forest garden, expansive gardens including nearly 2 acres in annual food production and 2 acres in perennials/orchards, two large commercial greenhouses, riparian planting, cabins (timber frame, recycled materials), barn addition, and much more-using a plan that we have devised with permaculture and community ideals.
As anarchists, we favor a social system based on voluntary cooperation and have chosen to use consensus as our decision making process. We have a cohesive set of bylaws and policies which reflect the needs of the community. We also have a comprehensive plan of action including social and educational outreach programs, physical infrastructure, and more.
Please see our other pages for more information on our outreach programs.
Finney Farm is owned and operated by Salmonberry Community Land Trust, who's board of directors is made up of full farm members. As a land trust we have articles of incorporation, bylaws, and policies-all of which are written and approved by residents of the farm. To become a member, one must apply and meet all requirements including a year residency as a probationary member, labor and financial contributions, and live in accordance with farm bylaws, policies, and agreements.
We don't have outside funding, and our operating budget comes primarily from member dues. Residents usually have some sort of outside or self employment as we do not "make money" off of the land. One of our primary goals is to maintain affordable housing and our contributions are much lower than average but we do still need to meet a financial payment each month.
Our commons area has the most amenities and infrastructure, with tiny houses and cottages for members and seasonal residents having fewer conveniences. All of our structures feature rainwater collection, grey water systems, composting toilets, passive solar design.
We are located about 7 miles from a village of about 800 residents. There is little if any local employment, although it is a wonderful community.