Knoll Farm of Fayston has been a place of refuge for over five decades. In the 1970s it was a peace and justice center, in the 80s a first landing place for Central American refugees, and for the last 20 years, it has been a gathering place for learning and working on social and climate and justice. Those 20 years have brought 4,000 citizen leaders there to work for the well-being of people and land.
This summer, 47 Better Selves Fellows are gathering at Knoll Farm to renew themselves and refocus on their work. They are civil rights and restorative justice advocates: Dálida Rocha directs Renew U.S. fighting for racial equity in climate justice policy and Matt LaVine works with the Center for Equity and Inclusion to implement better practices within institutions. They are on the front lines of food and housing security across the country: Vanessa Garcia Polanco of the National Young Farmers Coalition designs policy for more equitable farming and food systems. They are working on climate and environmental concerns: Pablo Ortiz is a senior bilingual climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists working to protect sources of and access to clean water.
Over the last 20 years, Knoll Farm has provided 4,000 free fellowships to organizers, artists, social and climate justice leaders from all 50 states. Peter Forbes, one of the current stewards of Knoll Farm said, “Offering the Better Selves Fellows care, rest, and reconnection to nature is how Knoll Farm offers our best selves to the world. We give these vibrant and creative people the time to imagine what’s possible for their work and their communities in the future.”
To celebrate, Knoll Farm will host a benefit concert on Saturday, August 20. Canadian duo, April Verch and Cody Walters will open for singer and composer, Moira Smiley, who brings songs steeped in folk and protest tradition. Smiley will invite the songwriting duo, Robinson & Rohe, to the stage for a set of their own music. The concert also features readings and music from writer/theater artist, Nia Witherspoon, and string players Andrew Ryan and Clara Rose alongside some internationally-touring surprise guests!
“It’s shaping up to be an epic night. This annual event raises $150,000 to make possible next year’s fellowships. We’ve raised $135,000 from our near and far community and hope to make our goal next Saturday night,” Forbes said.
Tickets for this benefit concert are available at knollfarm.org/music.