What We Do

Sunflower River is a working farm, and center for pagan (earth-based) spirituality. We live and act in both of those spaces simultaneously. So we maintain a large garden, raise livestock, preserve food, host ceremonies large and small, host a few secular events, and we’ve always got a project or three going on. Sunflower River was founded in 2007 by Tristan, Jenny, Kat & Alan. Billy has been part of the team from the start, and Rev joined in 2008. Alan left in 2021, Rev in 2022, and Terra joined in 2021. We have been building infrastructure (organizationally, interpersonally, and literally) nearly every day since we started. Lots of processes and projects are highly functional now, others are just getting going, and others are yet to be realized. No one has ever accused us of insufficient ambition! So the things we do fall under three main categories: Cycles, Events and Projects.








We maintain a quarter-acre organic vegetable garden, where we grow an assortment of chard, kale, lettuces and other greens, tomatoes, corn, eggplant, peppers, beans (dry and green), amaranth, peas, onions, garlic, potatoes, sunberries and whatever else comes to mind in a given year. We grow the vast majority of our plants from seed, either through direct-sowing, or through starting seeds in our greenhouse, and we use organic heirloom variety seeds, which we acquire mostly through our own and others’ seed-saving efforts from year to year. While we are not producing enough surplus food to support a CSA operation, or farmers’ market sales, we do manage to put a significant dent in our own grocery budget through our food production and preservation efforts.


Pollinator-friendly shrubs and herbs surround most of our garden areas, and one entire set of gardens, the Dye Beds, are devoted to pollinator-friendly plants. We interplant borage and other pollinator-friendly herbs in the main vegetable garden to attract beneficial insects and create habitat. For the most part, all one has to do to have beneficial insect species around is to create a place for them to live. And of course, the flowers are beautiful, and that’s a good reason in its own right for them to be there.


We also grow a variety of medicinal and culinary herbs in the Mint Bed, the Herb Garden, and the main garden, in addition to the ones that grow wild on the property, such as yerba mansa and globemallow.

Food Preservation

We preserve as much of our harvest as we can, to help us keep eating home-produced food through the winter. One thing this does is put us in touch with our ancestors, who, as recently as two generations ago, lived in a world where most people were primary producers, growing food, preserving food, sewing their own clothes, etc. We inherited a world that has moved very far away from the primary means of production, to the detriment of our collective skills, understanding, and creativity.


One of our major harvest activities is food preservation, through canning, freezing, and drying, of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and meats. Canning is easily the thing we do the most of. Most years, we put up apricots, green beans, tomatoes, apples, assorted sauces, many kinds of jam, and pickles (cucumber & green bean pickles in particular).



We’ve had assorted adventures in food dehydration over the years. You’d think that would be easy here, but harvest season is also monsoon season, and it’s also Insects Eat Everything season, so solar screen dehydrators have to somehow be exposed to the sun, protected from the weather, and seriously protect the food against insect encroachments. This year we ended up drying a lot of tomatoes in the oven. A technical, rather than passive, solution, but effective, and now we are eating a lot of delicious dried heirloom tomatoes, packed with flavor. Some day we hope to get around to building a box-o-foil style solar dryer!


We are also brewers. We make mead (honey-wine, usually also made with fruit), and sometimes hard cider, and old school ginger ale. We plan to expand into beer production at some point, though it lacks the primary advantage of mead, which is that you can ignore mead for several months while it is brewing, and this neglect will not harm it. In addition to being traditional, easy to brew, fun, and flavorful, mead tends to have a high alcohol content.


Since we are not focused on reducing our technology level, so much as applying appropriate technology in our lives, we also have a couple of chest freezers, in which we store the meat we produce, and any fruit and veggie harvests that we don’t have time to can or dry. It’s not as romantic, or photogenic, as more antique methods, but it sure is a good solution to suddenly finding yourself with 25 chickens to process.


Raising Poultry

Sunflower River raises chickens and turkeys. We keep a flock of laying hens for eggs, and ducks for eggs and meat. Our birds are kept cage free, in large open pens, where they have abundant space to run around, perches, nesting boxes, and playgrounds made of bent cottonwood branches and pallets. They free range the property whenever someone is home to make sure they stay out of trouble (and the lettuce beds). The poultry are part of an integrated farm system. Their manure is re-used in the garden and fields to enrich the soil, they eat insects that harm our crops, and they provide meat and eggs for our table.

Processing Poultry

We process our own chickens, ducks, and turkeys. At present, we are raising about 50 meat chickens each year. We process our own meat on site, using the cone method. We begin each animal processing day with a ceremony to honor the spirits of the animals, and then use methods as swift and humane as possible to do the work. These work days are open to others; we are happy to teach this process. For fuller details, and a detailed account of our philosophical interest in this process, please see the animal processing entries on our blog, and this article.


In 2009 we built a goat shed.  In 2010, Jenny got pregnant, and we put the idea of goats on hold while we sorted out the raising of a human child.  The goat shed, which continued to go by that name, was used for everything except goats.  In 2019, our field, which we had finally fenced in, became seriously overgrown, and we borrowed a small herd of goats from a friend to eat it down.  The next thing we knew, we were buying some goats of our own!  We currently have four adult Nigerian Dwarf does, two of whom we’ll be milking this season.  We’ll keep the doelings to increase our milk herd, and raise the bucklings for meat.  They are lively, full of personality, and absolutely adorable, and we love every one of them.



Secular Events

Farm Classes

Currently, we are offering two poultry processing workshops every year, in July & October. These classes are hands-on, and designed to teach you how to process your own poultry from live bird to ready-for-the-oven, including a detailed, informative, hands-on approach to every step of the process. After completing this class, you will be able to process your own backyard poultry. Many people are drawn to this work for a variety of reasons — because they are raising their own chickens or other poultry, or because they want to learn to have a personal relationship with a meat animal, and engage with this ancient process on a very human level.

We also offer a class called Community Tools, taught by Tristan, which covers consensus process, as well as our various project management and decision making and facilitation tools. This is a very useful class for anybody who works with a collaborative group, whether that group is at work, in your community, or as part of an intentional-community process.

To hear about our workshops and classes, please sign up for our mailing list!

In the past, Jenny has taught one-day hands-on classes on cheese-making, canning, and drip irrigation systems. If there’s something you’d like to see us offer, please let us know!

Work Parties

We host monthly Work Parties, during which everyone is welcome to come join us in whatever farm project is taking our focus at the moment. Work parties may focus on anything from canning, to earthbag wall building, to animal harvest, to tilling & planting the garden, or any number of other things. Work is varied, and there are always multiple small projects that need to be done as well as whatever large project is that day’s agenda. We can always use a hand with lunch preparation and childcare as well. We provide a hearty vegetarian lunch for all volunteers, and send everyone home with farm goods such as jam or eggs.

Harvest Festival

The Sunflower River Harvest Festival is an annual celebration occurring on Labor Day (on the Monday of Labor Day itself). It includes a large community gathering, with a potluck, a pie contest, harvest games such as apple bobbing and horseshoes, an open acoustic music jam, and whatever other diversions people bring to the day.

Ardantane Classes

Sunflower River is an affiliate of Ardantane Pagan Learning Center. We are one of their Albuquerque-area campuses, and occasionally host Ardantane classes. See their Class Schedule for details.



Sunflower River has hosted three handfasting (pagan wedding or commitment) ceremonies: Kat & Alan, in 2009, and Saint & Chance, in 2012, and Victoria & Logan in 2021.  We are open to hosting small weddings, handfastings, and other events – please reach out to us via the Contact Us page if you would like to hold your event here!

Other Ceremonies

We are also available to host other kinds of pagan ceremonies, as needed.