Ever dreamed of owning a small organic farm and working in harmony with the land? You may soon be able to make that dream come true.
Norma Burns, owner of Bluebird Hill Farm in North Carolina, has decided that after 18 years of managing her 13-acre spread from sunrise to sundown, it's time to move on. Instead of listing her property for its estimated price of $450,000, she's launching a national essay contest and opening ownership to people of all income brackets.
"To me, there's no better calling in life than raising organic food," Burns told the News Observer. "I’m looking for a like-minded couple who have experience and training in organic farming and are willing and able to put in the long days and hard work that farming requires. The only thing they don't have is an actual farm. I want to make it possible for these new farmers to get started.
To have a shot at winning Bluebird Hill Farm, you'll need to fulfill the $300 entry fee, submit your resume, and be something of a wordsmith. The essay question "Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm" must be answered using a maximum of 200 words (or a little less than what you see above). Burns plans to select 20 favorites after June 1, and hand them over to a panel of judges that includes an attorney, a conservationist, and an agriculture professional.
The winner will become the permanent owner of the property, free and clear.
The farm giveaway trend
Burns isn't the first person to attempt this kind of unusual giveaway for a farm. Back in 2015, the owners of Alabama's Humble Heart Farms in the Appalachian foothills launched their own essay contest with a $150 entry fee. Despite international attention, the contest ultimately failed to draw the 2,500 essays needed to cover the farm's value.
“I’d thought for sure this would work,” owner Paul Spell said. “We didn’t get even close.”
As for Burns, she's been active on the Bluebird Hill Farm Facebook page answering questions and allaying fears of partiality towards entries.
"Neither the owner nor the judges will ever see the names associated with the entries until after the award is decided," she writes. "We are doing everything we can to assure that this farm is awarded to aspiring farmers who have a dream of owning a farm and the experience and stamina to make it a successful enterprise."
To read more details about entering the contest and to view additional photos of the property and its outbuildings, check out the official site here.