About the Farm
Stonewall Farm is a nonprofit working farm and educational center whose mission is to demonstrate regenerative farming while educating and engaging people to support food security, ecological resilience, healthy communities and planet.
Stonewall Farm has a rich history traced through the descendants of just two families from the mid 1700’s to 1989. In 1759, the acreage now referred to as Stonewall Farm, was sold by Samuel Daniels to his son John. John kept the land in the family and in 1788 sold acreage to his son Ezra, who was the first to build a house and live on the property. Ezra cleared many of the trees to create pasture for the cows and sheep he owned. Upon his death, he bequeathed the farm to his son James, who continued clearing the land for more pasture and farming area. In fact, the entire farm known today was cleared by the Daniel lineage. It wasn’t until the death of James that the farm changed families. Upon James’ demise, in 1858, he left the farm to his daughter and her husband, Louisa and Lewis Pemberton. The Pemberton’s kept working the farm. In addition to farming, Lewis worked as a cobbler. The stagecoach route at that time came through the farm where Chesterfield Road now runs.
Louisa and Lewis sold the farm in 1908 to Carl Johnson and his wife nanny Strongbern, both Swedish immigrants. Carl and Nanny turned the farm into a dairy. They had about 50 cows and created a milk delivery route in Keene. The farmhouse at the time was very large with 22 rooms and the Johnson’s took on boarders during the harvest months. In May 1910 a chimney fire completely destroyed the home. The family lived in the carriage shed that summer while rebuilding their new home with 16 rooms.
Norm Chase and his wife Peggy, worked with Mike Kidder, a friend, and neighbor, to ensure what we now know as Stonewall Farm, would remain open, productive, working landscape to benefit the entire community. Mike’s passion for draft horses is what ignited the spark for Stonewall Farm’s vision. He had used Belgian draft horses in the contract logging business for 12 years and was always impressed by their power and grace. He decided to showcase their grandeur to the public by offering hay and sleigh rides. The purchase of the farm was an avenue for Mike to preserve the ways of farming for the general public. This vision led to the educational dimension of the farm with the first maple sugaring program for school children in 1991. This was followed by other school programs that now serve over 20,000 people a year.
In 1994, Mike Kidder received the non-profit status for Stonewall Farm. He saw this move as a way of giving to the community something that would remain theirs forever…..the farm itself. Now through the leadership of a board of directors, executive director, staff and community support, Stonewall Farm continues to remain a relevant and integral part of the community for generations to come.
Today Stonewall Farm maintains a certified organic herd of approximately 30 Holsteins and Brown Swiss and is the oldest and only working dairy farm in Keene, NH. Set in a scenic valley, it consists of 120+ acres of pasture, crops/gardens, wetlands, woods and hiking trails. Other farm enterprises include chickens, goats, rabbits, ducks, draft horses, organic crops, maple sugar operation, retail store, and an education and events center drawing over 20,000 people annually to this Agri-tourism non-profit enterprise. It is a leader in regenerative agriculture and education for farmers and landowners throughout New England.