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An Interview with April Yuds of LotFotL Farm

In early January this year, April Yuds accompanied three staff members of Angelic Organics Learning Center as the farmer representative to the first ever North American CRAFT gathering at Hawthorne Valley Farm in New York State. Twelve CRAFT networks from the United States and Canada attended. The 3-day meeting was held in conjunction with the Farm Beginnings Collaborative annual gathering. Staff members Tom Spaulding, Jenny Meyer, and Sheri Doyel also attended. Sheri Doyel interviewed April for this blog post. 

 

SD:  How did you benefit from attending the North American CRAFT meeting?

AY:  One of the biggest things that I took away from the meeting was how developed the Upper Midwest CRAFT group is (note from Sheri:  the Upper Midwest CRAFT group is our network, serving Illinois and Wisconsin farmers). I realized how lucky I am to be a part of it. I didn’t realize how extensively it was developed until I could compare it to other groups around the country.  I also saw the value if creating a larger entity, like a “CRAFT group united”, because it is such a great way to share resources and network and it creates a larger voice that can benefit farmers more broadly than just one smaller group

SD:  How do you think our Upper Midwest CRAFT will benefit from this meeting?

AY:  Whenever there is an opportunity like this that brings people together, there are great connections made that will be resources in the future. It brings new ideas to our group. People walked away from the meeting feeling inspired and motivated.

SD:  Did you learn anything there that might influence your farming, or that you might take back to your farm?

AY:  In conversations with other farmers, I got some ideas about how we could become better employers, or set up an internship program. We talked about working in a curriculum for our employees so that we can feel better about our contribution to people who come to the farm wanting to learn. Right now the experience is a little less “crafted” on our farm. That was one of the biggest things. Also, speaking with other farmers helped me to put in to perspective where we are at in comparison, and helped me to better visualize future goals.

SD:  Are there any next steps or contributions you want to make as a result of attending?

AY:  Attending motivated me to stay involved in CRAFT. It validated for me the importance of staying involved to help make our CRAFT group strong.  Whenever I’m in clubs or groups there’s always this core that keeps it moving, while others just sit and reap the benefits. This makes me want to give what I can to our CRAFT. We are doing a CRAFT field day on beekeeping here at LotFotL in 2014. I got some ideas of how I want to structure it at one of the CRAFT discussion groups. So that will be nice to bring back and utilize right away at the field day.

LotFotL Community Farm is one of the nominees for Angelic Organics Learning Center & CRAFT’s Beginning Farmer of the Year Award to be presented at the Good Food Festival on March 14th. For more information, click here.

 

By Sheri Doyel, Program Facilitator, Farmer Training Initiative