Overview & Mission
Kindness Farm emanates from the belief that we are all born imbued with kindness, & that kindness is a not only the most compassionate, but also the most practical model for the world to dwell in.
Kindness Farm aims to care for people & Earth by regeneratively & sustainably growing nutrient-full vegetables & fruits; cultivating community education of balanced farming practices; & providing freshly harvested nutriments to houseless and low-income neighbors in need.
Kindness is the natural instinct in all of us to take care of each other, and our planet; which we believe is distorted by a world that force us to choose our own survival over helping others.
Farm Practices & Guiding Values
As humans, we are Earth, and she is us. As such, our work is in caring, tending, listening, & learning; maintaining & strengthening balance.
We practice within a circular ‘closed-loop’ system that deepens the connections between all elements (soil, seeds, plants, air, water, insects, wildlife, humans) & promotes ecological regeneration.
- Kindness for Earth
All land deserves kindness, care, reverence, & respect.
- Kindness for People
All people deserve kindness, care, & access to freshly grown, nourishing foods.
Our work as care-takers of land & of each other is to maintain & strengthen balance within all relationships.
People & land belong to one another. We work together in symbiosis, giving when needed; taking when needed.
- Abundant Giving
Giving comes from a place of abundance, at no one’s expense. In this way, giving feels so nourishing that it often feels like taking.
- Closed Loop
Everything has a purpose at every stage existence. Every element returns to the ecosystem & feeds the renewal of the next.
- No Till: Minimizing Soil Disturbance
Composed of intricately woven relationships between plant roots, air, water, minerals & microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, protozoa, anthropoids, nematodes, & worms – balanced soil is the lifeblood of all inhabitants of Earth.
Modern, industrial agricultural practices heavily disturb soil regularly. This disturbance severs these important connections, promoting a weak, vulnerable ecosystem dependent on continually increasing external inputs from those tending the land.
At the farm, we honor the soil’s structures and support them by never tilling or turning the soil; minimizing any disturbance as much as possible; & continually adding ample organic matter & mulch.
- Always Mulching
Everything on Earth has a skin – a protective, insulating layer that allows for regulation of temperature and moisture. Bare soil is naked: vulnerable & susceptible to imbalance. Summer rays dry & crack; winter rains erode. By continually keeping soil covered with living mulches, leaves, plant clippings, straw, & wood chips, balance is supported.
Within this system, pioneer plants (commonly known as weeds) are acutely sparse; temperature is regulated through the highs & lows of each season; & water retention is increased by 80%. This substantially reduces the need for watering, sometimes eliminating it completely.
- Biological Diversity
Balanced, thriving ecosystems are rich in diversity of species & genetics. This variance between organisms creates an intricate web of resilience – the more varied elements are at play, the more connections are formed between them, and the stronger the web becomes.
On the farm, biodiversity takes many forms. For example, not only do we plant different species & cultivars of edible, flower, & medicinal plants, we also plant as many varieties of each as possible.
This also means that all insects are welcome on the farm. Pests are another link in the chain of biodiversity. An imbalance with a certain pest means an imbalance in the system – perhaps adding predator habitats, examining soil for health, ensuring proper watering, etc.
- Composting & Vermicomposting
All that was once alive, can give life again. In this way, everything is always living, shifting, & transforming. Vegetable stalks, leaves, cores, roots, clippings – which are considered waste products by modern industrial farmers & unnecessarily grow our landfills & contribute to climate change – can in fact create vibrant, rich organic matter teeming with life through composting.
With Vermicomposting (composting with worms), we are able to create an additional resource of significant value right on site to feed back into the farm beds. Worm castings are brimming with beneficial microbes that promote plant health and nutrient uptake.
Cultivating Community Education of a Balanced Farming Philosophy
At the farm, new & experienced gardeners alike gather to connect with the food web that give us life, and learn how to grow delicious, nutritious foods using regenerative, balanced farming practices.
To serve a global community yearning for a regenerative shift, classes, workshops, and courses will be offered both in person – at the farm, and at various sites around the city – and online. By diversifying our educational platforms we can reach & connect with many more individuals & communities, and champion for a far-reaching impact.
In teaching, our focus is two-fold:
- Adapt the farm’s practices to urban areas so they can be applied to little or ample land to create a balanced, thriving, abundant food-ecosystems regardless of size.
- Empower students to trust their role & connection within their greater ecosystems, and spread their knowledge within their communities.
Providing Freshly Harvested Nutriments to Houseless & Low-Income Neighbors in Need
Houseless & low-income individuals face food-insecurity & often don’t have access to fresh fruits & vegetables, as grains and processed foods are far less costly, & far easier to acquire.
Houseless people are met with grave unkindness on a daily basis, which wears down even the most resolute over time. By receiving abundant, unconditional kindness in the form of freshly grown nutriments, we believe we may re-inspire hope in those who lack it, and that this hope may bring about change in their lives.
To help shift the imbalance of a system that allows for the existence of food-insecurity & lack of access to nutritionally viable foods to begin with, we estimate the beyond-organic fruits and vegetables grown on the farm to be used in the following manner:
33% of produce grown will be used to create vegan, vibrant meals for those in need – empowering houseless neighbors through nourishing food that is alive and creates healing, health and vitality in the body.
33% of produce grown will be provided to low income families with limited access to fresh, organic food.
33% of produce grown will be used for our CSA, to generate a portion of farm income, as well as to spread community awareness of the farm and its mission.
Long term, we are also looking into the possibility of offering skill-training through Kindness Kitchen, where individuals will be able to become proficient in skills like cooking and time management, to allow them to apply for various jobs to improve their circumstances.
Kindness Gardens & Kind Gardeners
Gardeners can become “Friends of Kindness Farm” and turn their own gardens into “Kindness Gardens”, using the principles learned on the farm.
On harvest days for Kindness Kitchen, all are welcome to donate from their own Kindness Gardens, increasing the amount of fresh produce we’re able to provide those in need.
Visiting gardeners from other cities, states, & countries may also bring farm principles back to their families & communities. This way, the mission of Kindness farm can spread far & wide, with seeds of kindness being nurtured all around the world.
Portland Community Gardens’ program “Produce for People,” may also partner with Kindness Farm to donate their garden harvests to Kindness Kitchen.
Through the network of Kindness Farm and Kindness Gardens, we aim to develop a valuable asset: a community for resource sharing and mutual-help.
A few examples:
- If anyone has excess resources or, on the contrary, is in need of resources, the community can assist.
- If one would like to turn their lawn into a Kindness Garden, a group of Kind Gardeners may organize to help make the project come to life.
- Kind Gardeners may also choose to work on various other community projects together, creating positive change in our city.
The Farm as Sacred Space
In the Kindness Model, you never reach an end. Kindness is a circular system, which results in all paths leading back to the central one. In fact, because of this, all paths are the central path.
The farm reflects this as well. Built around beautiful pathways lined with perennial flowers & herbs, it creates a healing, abundant, safe space for walking meditation, present-moment practice, & a remembrance of the self as part of the whole.
The pathways never end, no matter where you turn.
Impact on Served Populations
The farm will have meaningful impacts on the served populations:
On houseless and low-income individuals:
- Provide vibrant, fresh fruits and vegetables for houseless and low-income individuals who can’t access them easily, compared to highly processed foods which are more affordable but lack nutrition
- Improve nutrition, health, and vitality
- Champion for social justice for those most vulnerable in our communities
- Nurture a sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and well-being
- Nurture a sense of community
- Nurture a sense of connection with food, the land that feeds us, & the self
- Nurture a sense of care and compassion
- Empower gardeners to develop the skills to sustainably grow food for themselves, their families, and their communities
- Transition to and adopt sustainable gardening methods
- Understand the importance of healing our soil, caring for it, & cherishing it (top-soil degradation is occurring rapidly due to conventional farming practices)
- Develop deep, meaningful connections with the cycles of nature, in particular as it relates to sustaining our humanity
- Strengthen the connection with the food that sustains us
- Enable gardeners to learn, carry, & share these practices with their communities, creating a far reaching network of individuals practicing regenerative gardening and growing nutrient-rich produce sustainably.
Impact on Farm Land Property
The farm will have meaningful impacts on the land:
- Add value, beauty, and vibrancy to the property
- Restore a former landfill site, currently vacant, where land was neglected and abused, and bring it back to its full vitality
- Enable the Property to use its land for the purpose of feeding those with limited resources fresh, vibrant foods that they do not normally have access to
- Sequester an average of 0.3 metric tons of carbon per acre per year (per the American Society of Agronomy)
- Set a shining example for others of restoring and using urban areas for restoration and social justice
- Add a lush, beautiful, serene, bountiful walking meditation space to the property for walking meditation
- Provide meaningful, life-shaping learning opportunities for the next generation
Impact on Local Neighborhood
The farm will have meaningful impacts on the neighborhood:
- Add value, beauty, and vibrancy to the neighborhood
- Encourage and empower neighbors to develop the skills to sustainably grow food for themselves, their families, and their community
- Encourage neighborhood volunteerism
- Further a sense of connection and community between neighbors
- Open healthy activities within the community
- Draw more like-minded people with similar values to the neighborhood
- Further a sense of pride, confidence, and ownership in the neighborhood
While formally Kindness Farm is a fairly new organization, it has been steadily & increasingly receiving support from the community.
- A group of impassioned volunteers is ready to work on the farm and help with its establishment and ongoing maintenance, production, & harvesting.
- A group of individuals that have been cooking & distributing meals to Portland’s homeless population for six years are ready to begin working together in partnership as soon as our first harvests are ready.
- A well established non-profit in Portland, Outgrowing Hunger, has been collaborating with us. They provide garden and farm space for refugees, immigrants, and low-income communities.
- We are in the process of potentially collaborating with Portland Community Gardens for Kindness Farm Workshops in their spaces, and produce donations to Kindness Kitchen from their Produce for People program.
- We’ve received pledges for donations of material goods from well established seed-farmers, and other organizations like the Portland Nursery.
- Several well-established farms & farmers practicing similar farming methodologies around the world have agreed to provide guidance & counsel when needed.
Long Term Vision
A Kindness Farm in Every Community
Our long term vision is for a Kindness Farm to sprout & flourish in every community. These sacred spaces will remind us that we areEarth, reconnect us to our food web, & nurture integral connections within our communities.
Kindness Farms will enable spaces where we can form deep bonds with the land and each other – nourishing and sustaining us for generations to come.
For Kindness Farm to have the greatest impact possible and flourish for all of us, it humbly but proudly requires a community of kind individuals and businesses coming together and giving what they can to make the farm come to life and move the world in a kind, sustainable direction.
In the Kindness Model, we believe that true giving does not require sacrifice. True giving nourishes and invigorates us right back, making our giving and receiving flow in a continuous, harmonious cycle.
There are 4 ways to contribute:
- Monetary contribution
Financial support for Kindness Farm.
- Resource contribution
Includes anything from seeds, organic compost, mulch, vegetable starts, flower starts, fruit trees, irrigation materials, and more.
- Time / skill contribution
Spend time growing yourself while tending to our beautiful farm in a multitude of ways! (Covid-safe!)
- Connection contribution
Spread the word about Kindness Farm far and wide.
All four can be either one-time contributions, or on-going ones.
Every drop in the bucket counts, and only together we can form strong, unbreakable connections that heal this world, each other, and ourselves.
My name is Lou Levit. I was born in former USSR, grew up in Israel, & immigrated to the United States when I was 13. I’ve lived in many different places throughout my life, but when my partner, David, and I discovered Portland 6 years ago, I felt myself arriving at my true home… a home where I could grow roots, & help create the kind of world I’ve always longed for.
In the last 10 years David and I have started and grown multiple marketing, advertising, coding, and software companies and exited several. I have extensive marketing experience, and have also managed teams of 10-30 individuals regularly in my companies. Other notable achievements have been winning multiple design awards & company case studies being featured by organizations such as Facebook & Forbes.
I am well versed in and know how to take an idea, make it flourish and come to life, and grow it successfully both practically and financially.
In the last 6 years I have dedicated my life to extensively studying & practicing permaculture, and regenerative & balanced farming principles. I have devoted myself to transforming barren spaces into lush, abundant, fruitful gardens using these methods. I’ve consulted and helped members of my local community do the same.
This, along with meditation and connection to self and all elements of Earth, are some of my biggest passions in life. Kindness Farm is my way moving the world in a direction I believe in, a world where we all take care of each other, and Earth.