Most of the land that is now Scatter Good Farm was once part of Brunswick’s Two Echo Dairy Farm, which ceased operation in the 1980s. We (Patty Carton and John Newlin) established it as a stand-alone 30-acre (mostly “hobby”) farm in 2002, and added another 10 acres in 2010; the farm is now about 30 acres of woodlands, 8 acres of grass-dominated fields, and 2 acres for the homestead, animals, and vegetable production.
Through 2014, the farm produced relatively small amounts of eggs, broilers (meat chickens), wool, maple syrup, and veggies – and it served as a common gathering place for music, campfire storytelling, and a variety of outdoor festivities.
In 2015, we named the farm Scatter Good Farm, and John initiated a series of changes to make it more productive and climate-friendly, using permaculture and agroforestry practices with an emphasis on growing vegetables in soil amended with carbon-sequestering biochar. In 2016, the farm received organic certification from MOFGA and doubled its vegetable production.
In 2017, inspired by Twin Villages Foodbank Farm in Damariscotta and other foodbank farms in Maine and elsewhere, we joined with others to create Growing to Give, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foodbank project at the farm. The farm’s vegetable production doubled again to just under 4,000 lbs. with all of it donated to Growing to Give, and we became the happy owners of seven Nigerian Dwarf goats (and a few months later, one miniature horse).
As of September 2018, the farm has helped Growing to Give grow and donate more than 12,000 lbs. of organic vegetables in 2018, and we have also expanded our business of hosting farm-based vacations and group events, including retreats, workshops, yoga classes, and birthday parties. Our friendly goats and miniature horse are enjoyed by both Growing to Give volunteers and farm guests (and their manure is invaluable to the farm’s organic compost operation).
Brunswick Biochar is a DBA of Scatter Good Farm. Its goal is to develop and promote effective small-scale agro-forestry biochar systems. Initially, this is being done through the farm’s biochar vegetable project.
There are a number of terms currently being used to refer to the need to reduce the amount of available carbon in the atmosphere. Many have connotations that can be confusing, including “low-carbon”, “carbon-negative”, and “carbon-free”. We like the terms “carbon-wise” and “carbon-smart”, but we like “carbon-sense” even more, mainly because it rhymes with common sense!
The phrase “scatter good” is similar to the wonderful saying, “Commit random acts of kindness”, which we’ve always liked. We also think it takes Google’s original motto (“Don’t Be Evil”) up a couple of levels. Another connection for the name involves Scattergood Friends School, a Quaker boarding school in rural Iowa with a great farm of its own (you can learn about it at scattergoodfarm.org). John attended Scattergood Friends School for his first two years of high school, and a few years later he served on its board of trustees as a college student. Although Scattergood Friends School does a great job of “scattering good” in the world, the school was actually named for Joseph Scattergood, a Philadelphia Quaker. To try to prevent confusion about the two farms, we separate the words “Scatter” and “Good” to emphasize our focus on scattering good in the world, and we have included our farm’s location (in the state of Maine, or ME) in our farm’s url, scattergoodfarm.me.
Scatter Good Farm is located in western Brunswick, Maine, about as far from the coastline as you can be and still be in Brunswick. Downtown Brunswick, Lisbon Falls, and Freeport are about 10 minutes away, and Portland, Wiscasset, and Lewiston/Auburn are about 30 minutes away. For directions to Scatter Good Farm, please click here.
Theda Lyden, Farm Manager
As farm manager, Theda plans and oversees all growing and harvesting activities. A long-time resident of Greene, she is a Master Gardener and ceramic artist. Previously, Theda operated her own farmers market business, Dig it Farm, selling certified organic herbs, flowers and perennials at the Portland Farmers Market. She also worked many years as the executive chef at the award-winning Harraseeket Inn in Freeport, Maine. As a chef, Theda was instrumental in building partnerships with local farmers and growers, with an emphasis on organic and all-natural local food. For fun and relaxation, Theda is an avid sea kayaker and alpine skier.
John Newlin, co-owner
For the past few years, John has been focused on diversifying operations and expanding the use of climate-friendly methods at Scatter Good Farm, including the creation of Growing to Give. In addition, John is senior advisor at Re-Fridge and the board chair of Unity College, the first college in the U.S. to fully divest from fossil fuel investments. Previously, John worked 30 years in Maine as a high school teacher, school reform coach, facilitator, and nonprofit director. His work is infused with an entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit. For fun and relaxation, John enjoys eating out, watching movies, singing, kayaking, walking in the woods, dancing with Patty, and talking about doing more yoga. FMI: please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnbnewlin.
Patty Carton, co-owner
Patty started her career as a pediatric physical therapist, and early on she combined her love of horses with her skills as a therapist, starting a nonprofit in 1993 for people with disabilities called Riding to The Top (RTT) Therapeutic Riding Center, which is now located in Windham, Maine. Since then, she has worked at RTT as the executive director, volunteer coordinator, program director, board member, and riding instructor. Patty has also worked a massage therapist, and has run a fiber summer camp for children at Scatter Good Farm, teaching animal husbandry, sheep wool processing, spinning, knitting and crocheting. Most recently, she has begun a new career, tutoring dyslexic children in reading skills. In addition, she has served as a coordinator for numerous nonprofit fundraising and community-building events. For fun and relaxation, Patty enjoys cross country skiing, kayaking, singing, campfires, board games, and spending time with family and friends.