BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
Photos via Bluebird Hill Farm Facebook
Norma Burns, owner of Bluebird Hill Farm in North Carolina, is searching for the perfect couple to take over her farm. If it has been your dream and goal to own and operate an organic farm, but your bank account isn’t ready to support your dream, you may be in luck. To be the next owner of Bluebird Hill Farm, all you need is $300 and the perfect 200 words.
The farm is located in a small town in Chatham County, which is about an hour west of Raleigh. It’s 12.88 acres and USDA-certified organic, and it’s worth a comfortable $450,000. Instead of putting it on the market, Burns wants to make sure it goes to the right people, and she plans to find these people through her essay contest.
The essay is “Why we want to own and operate Bluebird Hill Farm” and the deadline is June 1. She has run the farm for 18 years but is now moving to Raleigh with the hopes of leading a more urban lifestyle.
“To me, there’s no better calling in life than raising organic food,” said Burns, an award-winning architect-turned-farmer. “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.”
She has been growing herbs, speciality vegetables, native plants, cut flowers, farm crafts and food products on the farm. Along with the farm land, the winner will also get the two-bedroom farm house, a garden room and shop, a chicken coop, distiller, greenhouse, and the farm cat, Barney.
Although she loves the farm, Burns is ready to move on. Her final involvement in the farm will be ensuring the perfect couple takes over. And yes, it has to be a couple as she said that, “experience has shown that Bluebird Hill Farm can’t be operated successfully by a single individual.”
There are other legibility requirements, which can be found here, along with more details on the entry fee and how exactly to enter. The essay contest called “A Gift of Good Land” won’t actually be judged by Burns, but instead by a panel of judges, including a conservationist, an agricultural professional and an attorney.
“When my late husband (North Carolina State University Professor Bob Burns) and I purchased the farm, it was a derelict property,” she said, “A barn without a roof, a neglected house and abandoned gardens. After nearly 18 years of work, love and care, the farm has become what we envisioned it to be. It would mean so much to me to see it in the care of someone committed to its continued improvement.”