Sunflower River is a small sustainable spiritual intentional community in the Rio Grande Valley. We are four full-time Stewards (land owners). We have one child, three cats, a dog, a small herd of goats, and a fluctuating number of chickens, turkeys, and ducks. If you are interested in being a part of our community, please consider interning with us (see the Internship information linked below). This is the best way to get to know us and see what it is we’re doing in a hands-on way. We are a small, close-knit community, and while we are open to the idea of new members, we are not actively seeking members.
Kat is a poet, artist, and queer polyamorous ecofeminist pagan. Her ideal life includes living in this intentional community, gardening, reading a lot, laughing with friends, enjoying the ceremonies of daily living, and seeing the stars at night. She reads voraciously and is largely responsible for the household’s little book problem. She lives in a yurt that she helped build. Kat has been involved in efforts to build a better world through the combination of queer pagan intentional community efforts and organic gardening since 2001. She’s a Taurus, Aries moon, Virgo rising. Kat’s poetry can be found (and purchased!) here.
Jenny always had a desire to be a homesteader, so was very excited to help create Sunflower River. Over the course of becoming a farmer, she has spent many hours developing her skills at carpentry, hole digging, butchering, troubleshooting, canning, heavy thing-carrying, and generally becoming in sync with the cycles of the year. Now she’s introduced a child into the farm, which brings a vast amount of new skills to learn. She was working in biomedical research until her maternity leave. Since then, she has become a full time parent, farmer, and homeschooler.
Tristan is a steward, farmer, nurse, father and witch, the order of importance depending on the moment. Tristan explores each of these as both art and science. As a steward of Sunflower River Tristan has a special interest in the workings of the community as a whole with a particular focus on the consensus decision making process. Living in community as a chosen family is the reason Tristan is part of this project.
Billy is a supportive Sunflower Riparian, a nearby set of hands when the Stewards are otherwise occupied. He loves having the opportunity to play “farmer” and occasionally get his hands dirty while avoiding the more laborious elements of farm life. He lives at Caer Aisling, a house just ½ mile away from Sunflower River, where he takes great care and pride in maintaining the large labyrinth. The labyrinth poses an existential challenge to Billy, as it is a project that can never be finished; always a reminder to live in the journey. He and his pug, Gaspar, spend most of the year in Brownsville, TX, where they teach and study sociology at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Gawain, Jenny and Tristan’s son, was born July 25th, 2011. He’s a charming, talkative, endlessly dramatic Leo, who is made of potential, and changes every day.
We host an ever-revolving crew of interns. Volunteers stay here for anything from 1-6 months, to learn about organic farming (and sometimes also to learn about community living, or paganism), and do a work-trade for room and board while they are at Sunflower River. We host interns through the WWOOF program and through Workaway. If you are interested in applying for our internship program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a detailed cover letter discussing your experience & interests. Please also be aware that our calendar nearly always runs 2-4 months ahead, and we cannot usually accomodate last-minute requests.
Is a small, spring-loaded tortoiseshell cat. She’s secretly extremely sweet and loving, but mostly shows herself as a wild creature, haunting the tops of the cottonwood trees and the rooflines of various farm buildings. She lives life on her own terms.
Tybalt is both an absolute love bug, and an absolute brat. He moved to Sunflower River in February 2013, and found himself right at home and owning the place within a day. There is very little he won’t sleep on. He’s quick to cuddle, purr, and head-butt everybody, and always accepts affection. He also insists on staying out late, waking up early, and getting into everything. His favorite question is “are you gonna eat that?”
Arrow joined the farm in 2020, after a very careful selection and adoption process to ensure he would be safe with poultry, cats, children, and the general activity level around here. He’s a full-size dog on pint-size legs, who always looks very serious while being very goofy. We all agree he’s the best farm dog we’ve had in many years.
We keep approximately 25-30 laying hens at any given time, and we raise meat chickens in batches of 25, usually 2-3 batches per year. For layers, we are presently keeping Barred Rocks, Americaunas, a few silver-laced Wyandottes, and Buff Orpingtons. For meat birds, we raise Rainbow Rangers. Our meat birds live in chicken tractors on pasture, and are moved to fresh pasture daily. The layers live in a large coop in the barnyard, and are allowed to roam free during days when someone is around to keep an eye on them. We sell farm-fresh eggs locally for $7/dozen; if you are interested, please contact email@example.com.
As of summer of 2019, we finally are starting our own herd of goats! We have four adult Nigerian Dwarf goats, Dulcinea, Calico, Allium and Coriander. We’re expecting this year’s kids in April. We are delighted to have them on the farm.
(Please note: Turkeys are on pause for 2023: we will not be offering turkeys for sale this year.) We raise 40 cage free Thanksgiving turkeys each year. They are responsive, humorous birds, who prefer to be all together in a flock, and who will fly up to the highest branches of the cottonwoods, or the roof of the barn, when they have play days outside the coop.
This cottonwood tree is estimated by an arborist friend to be between 150 – 200 years old. It grew from a wild seed when the Rio Grande was still a deep, wild, braided river, lacing over these floodplains in irregular and changing patterns from year to year. The tree is a spirit of this land, whom we are honored to share our lives with. Our main ritual ground is located beneath the spreading arms of the great tree.