Michelle Larrivee and her husband, Jody, pause for a moment with their son, Bryce, at their family farm and greenhouse Freedom Hill Farm in Canton. Submitted photo

Michelle Larrivee and her husband, Jody, own Freedom Hill Farm, a small family farm and greenhouse in Canton. On the farm, they currently have two Nigerian dwarf goats, two pigs, and 23 chickens. The couple sells fresh produce from their garden and greenhouse as well as eggs, some handmade knit and crocheted items made by Linda, Larrivee’s mother-in-law, and butcher block cutting boards made by Jody.

In June, Larrivee was elected selectman for the town. Her hope as a selectman is to help improve communication and transparency between town government and community members, she said. “I also love that I live in a small town that thrives on agriculture. We have so many local farms within our small community. I aim to help our community build on this strength and help preserve these life-sustaining skills for our future generations!”

The pandemic has changed how many people live their lives and changed their outlook on life. How did it affect you and your family’s lives? Prior to the pandemic, we looked like any other average family. Both my husband and I worked outside the home and our (at the time) 2-year-old son, Bryce, was attending day care. During the shutdown, our family adjusted to a new work/life balance without leaving home. We decided to expand our garden that spring/summer and we decided to get our own flock of chickens. We figured we were home more, so this gave us something healthy to do as a family and distract from all the uncertainty that was happening at the time.

Our family, especially Bryce, enjoyed planting and watching seedlings grow and digging up/dividing plants around the property creating more gardens. We wanted to share this newfound gratitude for growth and dirty hands with our community, especially wanting to thank and show our support for those who could not hit pause like the rest of the world during this time. So that spring came our first plant stand. We sold our seedlings for a small fee and offered all health care workers and other essential employees the joy of a free plant for their gardens.

In 2021, I decided to continue to work from home and started my own private practice as a licensed clinical social worker providing telehealth services. We could not get our child back into day care, thus affecting my husband’s ability to work outside the home . . . so we turned to growing our farm for distraction and we loved the skills we were gaining as a family in providing nourishment for ourselves. We did another small plant stand that spring and decided to add sibling Nigerian dwarf goat kids to our now growing homestead/farm. Our goats were ready for pick up on Fourth of July weekend so we could not resist in naming them Freedom and Liberty.

This year we decided to go through the process of making our hobby of gardening and farming into a limited liability company now known as Freedom Hill Farm, LLC.


What’s happening lately at Freedom Hill Farm? How is the farm work split up among your family members and what are your favorite and least favorite tasks on the farm? Freedom Hill Farm currently has two Nigerian dwarf goats . . . two pigs, Porky and Peppa, and 23 chickens (seven laying hens and 16 pullets . . . I suspect one is a rooster). Our farm stand is currently focused on the sale of plants such as vegetable seedlings, herbs, annuals, and perennials. Throughout the summer months, we plan to offer some fresh produce from our garden/greenhouse as well as our own preserves. We also offer farm fresh eggs and handmade items like dishcloths, hot/cold packs, and butcher block cutting boards.

We all have a job to do here! My husband, Jody, does all the tractor work. He also has an amazing green thumb and can grow some pretty great seedlings, not to mention his craft abilities in making the butcher block cutting boards (he likes to dabble in resin art too). My role is taking care of the animals on the farm, including our cat, Victory. I also do the canning/processing of our prepared foods. Bryce just loves to greet any customer that comes to the farm stand and is eager to help them find anything they are looking for, most likely while talking about his favorite dinosaur of the day! Weeding/watering/harvesting is a family project. My mother-in-law, Linda, likes to sew and crochet so she helps out by making the dishcloths and hot/cold packs.

My favorite thing to do on the farm is plant and spend time with the goats and chickens. These tasks are so grounding to me as they help me forget about the chaos of the day/world and ground myself in the present moment and express gratitude . . . gratitude for what the land, our animals, and our hard labor provides for us. My least favorite task? Well . . . pigs are all-around rude animals, especially when hungry!

In June you were voted in as a selectman for the town of Canton. Why did you seek the nomination and what would you like to see happening in the town? Working from home not only graced me with more time to be with my family, it also gave me an opportunity to become more involved in the town and my community. My son, Bryce, approached the age to enter town sports and I joined the Recreation Committee. I engaged in more town, town selectman, and school board meetings. I was focused on how we could increase family-friendly recreation activities on a more regular basis. Then a neighbor reached out and suggested that I run for one of the open seats. I talked to my husband, who was in complete support of the idea, and decided to do it!

My hope, as a selectman, is to help improve the communication and transparency amongst the town (and our townspeople). We have gone through a lot of changes and suffered a few strong community losses in these last couple of years. I want to work toward the continued expansion of opportunities for community involvement through recreation, volunteerism, and other supportive outlets. I also love that I live in a small town that thrives on agriculture. We have so many local farms within our small community. I aim to help our community build on this strength and help preserve these life-sustaining skills for our future generations!

As a licensed clinical social worker, can you recommend some communication skills to help people feel seen and heard and perhaps more motivated to work together? In my opinion, the most important communication skill is listening. Not just listening to the words a speaker is saying but listening to the experiences the person is speaking from and doing so without passing judgment. When we are heard from a place of understanding, compassion, empathy and validation, we feel seen and heard. We also feel empowered to contribute more, volunteer more, share more ideas, etc. My goal as a clinician, and my hope as a selectman, is to be that person that can listen to the experience a person is speaking from rather than just listening to the words they are saying.

Michelle Larrivee waters the flowering plants at Freedom Hill Farm in Canton that she and her husband, Jody, own. As a newly elected Canton selectman, Larrivee hopes to help improve communication and transparency between town government and community members, she said. Submitted photo

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