Total loan: $8,000
Stevensville, MT, United States / Agriculture
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Not growing up on a farm or inheriting land and equipment has not stopped me from making a go at being a farmer. I studied a few basic courses on communities and their relationship with food and farming at the University of Montana in 2009. From there, I knew that growing food was a solution to many of the problems we face as a civilization. As Michael Pollan advised Barrack Obama, after cars, American agriculture eats up 19% of fossil fuels and emits 37% of greenhouse gases. When I realized these figures, I jumped ship for Montana State University in order to learn how people are growing better food with coursework in soils and microbiology. When I wasn't at school in the summers, I spent time interning at Prairie Heritage Farm and the Towne's Harvest Garden. After graduation, I landed a farm lease thanks to a generous family who'd seen my Craigslist post ("Young Farmer Seeking Irrigated Land). In exchange for growing food for the family that lived on the land and irrigating their horse pastures, I was given a few acres to spread my farming wings. I learned a thing or two there, and eventually met my fellow worker cooperative members, Katie and Barret, who have helped the farm grow food that's riper and more bountiful than those early years. It's stimulating work. You learn a lot pushing the boundaries of greens production in harsher parts of the year. And it's easy attracting eaters to support our work when we're the only ponies in the show. Our dream is to refine this model of farming so other producers can follow this path and get out of the rat-race of summer vegetable production. This would provide more stable incomes, employment, and resilience for new small farms while feeding more Montanans.