The Story of Generosity: Highlighting the Fairbank Family

The Fairbank family has had ties to Camphill since the late 90’s. Sarah Fairbank, the mother of the family, first heard of Camphill communities from her father while growing up on the East Coast of the United States. Her father was politically active and interested in intentional communities, hoping to live in one himself one day. Sarah, along with her husband Owen, have 3 children-Megan, who works in nature conservation and loves to sing and cook, Jesse, who incorporates his interests in human behavior and motivation to his day job, and has passions for bicycles and metal work, and Adam, a Glenora Farm Companion and Farm Workshop team member.

After Adam finished high school, he continued on to classes hosted at Oregon State University. Adam spent his break time hanging out in the Student Union Building. In the classroom, he learnt about banking, pedestrian safety, and job etiquette. Adam then moved in with a roommate close to the university campus with personal supports plugged in. At that point it became clear that Adam needed a deeper sense of contribution and additional program support. Adam moved back in with his family. He tried many jobs- working in the OSU dairy barn, cleaning in a bar, working in a nursing home, and a bakery. The conditions were not ideal, and a family friend suggested he work in the afternoons at their vegetarian restaurant. Adam wanted more freedom and was looking for something more in his life. The Fairbank family had a desire for Adam to be independent, have a meaningful life, take on responsibility, and be respected.

At Owen’s 50th birthday in November 1997, a family friend of theirs from the East Coast was talking to Sarah. Sarah confided that she did not know what to do to best support Adam. Her friend simply said “Camphill.” In early spring 1998, the family took a trip to the East Coast where they visited Camphill Village Copake and Triform Camphill communities. When arriving at Camphill Village Copake the first time, Sarah recalls Adam saying to her “I’m home.” Adam had a month-long trial visit at Triform in which he tried many jobs, and impressed coworkers with his knowledge of livestock, composting, and baking. After the trial was done, Adam went back to Oregon to let it all settle in. The family had many discussions and everyone agreed Camphill seemed like the right place for Adam.

Adam lived at Camphill Village Copake from 1998 until 2016. During this time, the entire Fairbank family was incredibly active in the community life of Copake, coming out for many visits, helping in the gardens and workshops, and stepping in to run the household during House Coordinator vacations. Adam loved his life at Copake, but as time went on he began to express the desire to be closer to his family on the West Coast. In the spring of 2016, Sarah and Owen visited Glenora Farm for a tour. Later that year, the siblings visited together and everyone agreed, it was a great fit for Adam. By November 2016, Adam was living at Glenora Farm. He stayed briefly in Waters House, just down the road, and then moved into Corwyn House, a house he still calls home to this day.

When asked how she would describe Glenora Farm, Sarah said “Active, happy, beautiful, busy, and comfortable”. She expressed endless gratitude to the Glenora Farm community, and said she can’t put into words what Adam has gained being here. The generosity of this family is indicative of their appreciation to Glenora Farm.

The Fairbank family have been supporting Glenora Farm in multiple ways for many years now. This year, the Fairbank Family provided a very generous donation which allowed the Farm to create a robust operating reserve account and significantly reduce our mortgage debt. This gift creates a freedom for the Farm to spend less on debt repayment and more on program development and capital projects that will benefit the Companions at Glenora Farm today and for years to come. The Companions, Coworkers and community members of Glenora Farm will be celebrating The Fairbank Family’s incredible contributions in a way that respects their passion for nature, ecology and conservation. A locally made artisan wood bench will be erected, with shade provided from a planted tree. From the bench, the Farm welcomes you to sit and reflect on the value of generosity and marvel at the wonders of the natural world.

“It is in giving that we receive”- St. Francis of Assisi

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