Nicole Caldwell, Better Farm Pioneer
Name: Nicole Caldwell
Occupation: Executive Director of Better Farm, freelance writer and editor, photographer
Place of Residence: Redwood, NY
Background and Personal History: In 2009, Nicole traded pencil skirts for Carhartts and subway trains for pick-ups when she left her one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn to open a 65-acre sustainability education center and artist colony in northern New York called Better Farm. There, she educates people about green living and sustainability issues through the provision of workshops, internships and artist residencies.
Current Projects: Nicole and the residents at Better Farm are in the midst of constructing an earth ship out of tires, a hobbit house utilizing an old barn foundation, and expanding their aquaponics setup.
Other Fun Facts:
- Nicole may have left the city, but she still works remotely as a professional editor and writer. Her main gig? Editor-in-Chief of Playgirl.
- One of Better Farm's most recent projects was to take a two-story hay barn and convert it into a 1,400-square-foot studio and gallery space featuring passive solar, recycled soy sprayfoam insulation, and a second-floor balcony overlooking a natural hillside amphitheater perfect for performances.
- Better Farm's livestock—33 chickens—are comprised purely of rescues. Most recently, 20 “spent hens” were adopted from a nearby egg factory. Now free-range, the birds have regrown all their feathers, turned their crowns from beige to red, and enjoyed the freedom to peck, scratch, and flap their wings to their little hearts' content.
- Better Farm's internship and artist residency programs merge the creative with the sustainable. Artists, college students, WWOOFERs, and travelers from all over the globe converge at Better Farm to share farming duties, live under the same roof, and collaborate on projects ranging from construction to murals.
- The greenhouse on Nicole's property was created using discarded windows from people in town.
More Places to Find Nicole on the Web: The Better Farm Blog