Looking to change your life? You can do it with one well-crafted 200-word essay. Norma Burns, the owner of Bluebird Hill Farm in North Carolina, is looking to pass on her 12.88-acre organic farm (estimated at around $450,000) to one lucky partnership—for next to nothing. All you need to do is submit the following: pay a $300 entry fee; fill out the brief entry form; and write a short essay entitled, Why We Want to Own and Operate Bluebird Hill Farm.
Through this unusual essay contest, Burns wants aspiring farmers to win “a gift of good land,” because there’s a struggle to find a proper homestead. Former Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden explained, “Many producers, especially new and underserved farmers, tell us that access to land is one of the biggest challenges they face in establishing and growing their own farming operation.”
Burns echoes Harden’s sentiment, and takes action by giving land away—including the certificate of title—that she’s owned for nearly 20 years. “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,” Burns told The Charlotte Observer. “The only thing they don’t have is an actual farm. I want to make it possible for these new farmers to get started.”
After the new owners take the reigns, Burns will enjoy the city life in Raleigh. She leaves behind a two-bedroom home, 200-year-old barn, chicken coop, distiller, and greenhouse that someone else will make their own. If you’re interested in learning more about the contest, Burns has created a dedicated website explaining the stipulations. It ends on June 1, 2017, and the winners will be announced about a month later.