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FAB Farmers

The Learning Center’s Farmer Training Initiative would like to introduce the new participants in our Farm Asset Builder program for 2015, the second year of this program.  Farm Asset Builder is a matched savings account program in which participants’ savings toward an approved farm asset are matched in a two-to-one ratio while they participate in a customized menu of financial management education and technical assistance opportunities.

Penny Peterson, Wishful Acres Farm
“Wishful Acres Farm began as a "wish" over 10 years ago, and became a reality in 2009. Our small family farm consists of several acres of USDA Certified Organic vegetables and herbs, one 72 foot long passive-solar greenhouse, a few farm animals, a few farm boys, and a continued dream for an on-farm commercial kitchen.”

Mat Boerson, Boerson Farms
“Boerson Farm is an 80 acre, certified organic farm tucked into the rural fabric of Green Lake county, Wisconsin. We find strength in 20130821_Boreson Farm_436.jpgdiversification and strive for a closed loop farm that provides for its own fertility needs. We are committed to sustainable farming practices that build soil organic matter, increase biodiversity, and produce delicious whole foods including vegetables, grass fed beef, eggs, pastured pork, fruit and grain. Mid-scale compost production, rotational grazing, and cover cropping are some of the tools we are employing to sequester carbon while producing food for a 75 member CSA and local farmers markets. We farm because we love it and because we are working to create the kind of world we want our children to inherit.”

Stephanie Bartel, Old Plank Farm
“When I was 23 years old I purchased a small piece of land on the edge of [Plymouth, WI]. It was twenty-five acres of abandoned farmland, once stripped of its topsoil and used as a gravel pit during construction of the adjacent highway. It had a well, two trailers, a barn and a garage. What more could anyone want? I moved in to one of the trailers, sold 20 CSA shares, and began Old Plank Farm. It was 2009. Now, six seasons later, Old Plank Farm is a 230-member CSA farm and has a well, one trailer (funny story about the other one), a barn, a garage, three greenhouses, one tree house, and best of all, a half-acre compost yard that helps to regenerate topsoil and heal my land.”

Nick Choate-Batchelder and Becky Stark, Midnight Sun Farm
Midnight Sun Farm is a small diversified Organic farm in Harvard IL. We have been in business for 5 years, and we deliver a wide array of vegetables, pastured chicken eggs, and Thanksgiving turkeys to the Chicagoland area. We have a CSA with drop-offs in Oak Park and Humboldt Park in Chicago, and we serve farmers markets in Rogers Park and Glenview in the summer. We made a big move in November of 2014, from Grayslake, where we had been renting land and facilities from the Prairie Crossing Farm business incubator, to our new, permanent location in Harvard IL. We have a very good situation here, with 54 acres to grow into, a comfortable house on site, a barn, a shop, and even a nice 2 acre pond. We have a 5-year lease on this property, and a landlord who is very supportive of our activities. We are working out a plan with our landlord to buy the farm when we get our financial house in order.

To learn more about Farm Asset Builder Program, click here.

To join CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training), click here.

By Bill Ladd-Cawthorne

Farm Finance Project Coordinator