Sylvester Manor is many things to many people: an organic farm, a beautiful historic plantation, an important land conservation property, a music festival host, a provider of educational programs.
While each of these pieces contributes to the community, their combined effect strives for something more.
Founder Bennett Konesni spoke to this in a recent interview: “For me it’s about creating a good quality of life, a life worth living, essentially a life that’s fulfilling, that’s outside, that’s filled with community and landscape and good food, history, all the things that to me make life worth living and meaningful.”
Our programs are designed not only to meet specific community needs — access to locally grown food, hands-on kids programs, preservation of a cherished historic home — but also the need to find joy and meaning in life by being part of a community that is profoundly connected to place.
Music, delicious and sustainable food, landscapes, family histories, evolving economies — these come together as we share Sylvester Manor and continue its stories.
As we cultivate, preserve and share all that is Sylvester Manor, we do so with a sense of …
JOY – We find joy in our work and our programs through worksongs, impromptu music jams, farm-to-table lunches, uncovering seldom-heard history and welcoming neighbors and collaborators to this wonderful place.
“You have to find ways to make your work joyful because for so many years
on slave plantations … work was just the opposite.”
INVENTIVENESS – From Rumford Baking Powder to husk cherry jam to the gourd banjo, sharing and helping neighbors create new and useful tools that enhance living inspires us.
“The energy and innovation that came with all of the eras
is what we want to preserve and encourage as we go forward.”
FAIRNESS – Fair labor and transparency is vital to this new era at Sylvester Manor, as we establish a community supported, sustainable farm from a property that was once a slave-holding plantation. We offer joy and enlightenment to all who work and learn, plant and sing at the manor.
“I think that’s one of the real antidotes,
one way to start addressing the slave history here.”