A Still, Small Farm
Andrew and Becky, owners of A Still, Small Farm, talk about their experiences with farming. They started their farm because they wanted to do hands-on work that was meaningful and productive.
They use manure, two tractors, and a variety of hand tools to till the soil and plant their crops, which include salad greens, spinach, carrots, onions, leeks, beans, peppers, and tomatoes, among many others.
Eventually, they want farming to be their full-time job, without having to supplement with other work. They want to work on growing food to harvest all the way from mid-August into February or March, an unusually long harvest season for the region. They are interested in exploring aquaponics, passive solar hoop houses, and root storage.
They chose the name “A Still, Small Farm” because it represents the peacefulness of time on the farm amidst all the work and movement, as well as their desire to run a farm that makes a significant impact but is still small enough to be treasured.
Tangible moments and camaraderie
The most rewarding moments are sowing the seeds and working alone or in small groups, as well as hearing from people who enjoy their produce. They’ve learned that organizing the garden layout before planting, and keeping organized notes of the work, is super important for success.
While farming and gardening is difficult, seasonal work, and not necessarily rewarding in the traditional sense, there’s valuable community to be found in other farmers, who enjoy sharing knowledge. A good way to get started in farming is interning or volunteering on different farms. And don’t be afraid to get dirty!
Small farming has its challenges and rewards
Gardening and farming can be challenging, but also rewarding in the things you learn and the community you become a part of. Experimentation and flexibility are key!
Questions about farming to discuss on Ohlelo:
- What did you learn about small farming?
- Would you ever want to start your own small farm?
- What has been your biggest challenge in running a small farm?
- Are small farms likely to have a sustainable business model?
- What do you think is the best part about running a small farm?
- How are small farms innovating to respond to climate change and other changes?