Just getting started, February 2015

Thank you for your interest in Field Notes Farm!
We have spent our winter months planning and preparing for our first season.

We will grow organic vegetables and herbs on 2 acres that we are renting from Nami Moon Farms in Custer, WI. Over the last several years we have had the pleasure of getting to know Chris, Maria, and Cindy at Nami Moon Farms. We were delighted and so grateful when they agreed to rent 2 acres to us for our new venture.

In our first season we plan to recruit 32 members for our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, participate in 2 farmers markets, and sell produce to several local businesses in Stevens Point, Appleton, and Amherst.

We incorporated Field Notes Farm LLC in November, 2014.
What have we accomplished since then?

Secured Farm Financing
We are participating in the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Micro-Loan Program. On Christmas Eve we finalized our $50,000 loan with the local FSA office. We will use the loan primarily for purchasing 5 passive greenhouses and our walk-behind tractor, key investments that will help us grow lots of food on our small acreage.
Look forward to information and an invitation to our hoophouse build-days in April.

Finalized Land Rental
We chose to rent land rather than purchase in order to focus our capital on the equipment and infrastructure we need to get started. We plan to spend our first years solidifying our growing model before making the next financial commitment to purchasing land.

Created Growing Plan
Planning for diversity and consistency in diversified vegetable production can be a tricky process. Like many other CSA/market farmers, we grow dozens of varieties of vegetables, each with different growing requirements. Keeping track of the relevant data in a flexible format is something that we have struggled with at our previous farm jobs for years. Oren worked long and hard to develop an interactive template for planning CSA, market, and wholesale plantings. You can see his work in the data section.

Launched Website – fieldnotesfarm.com
Our site is split into four sections. During our growing season, the “Notes” page will feature stories and inspiration from our adventures starting a new farm. Under “Data” you can view our organizing and planning documents in real time as Google Docs, including our planting plan, seed lists, task lists, and budget summary. The “CSA” page offers detailed information about our CSA program for current or prospective members. In “Media” we will showcase images and videos of our work on the farm.

Ordered and Received Seeds
We had a great time selecting the many varieties of vegetables and herbs that we will grow in 2015. After many weeks of work at the computer creating plans and budgets, we were heartened to receive our seeds in the mail and hold tangible evidence of the exciting season to come.

Found Greenhouse Space
We will be using heated greenhouse space at Whitefeather Organics, a local farm run by our friends Tony and Laura. We are looking forward to getting started in the greenhouse in early March.

Started Recruiting CSA Members
We started participating in community events to get the word out about our farm. We tabled at the Central Rivers Farmshed Local Food Fair, Hava & Oren set up a Saturday morning table at the Village Hive, and Polly has been working with a group of farmers organizing a series of CSA Fairs in Appleton, Neenah, Oshkosh, and Fond du Lac. We have received a warm welcome from the people we have met and continue to be energized! Polly also posted information about our CSA program around Stevens Point, Appleton, and our CSA drop-off locations (The Market on Strongs in Stevens Point, The Village Hive in Amherst, and the Green Gecko 2 in Appleton).

Launched Farm Seeks Artist Program
We have received a lot of interest in our Farm Seeks Artist Program. We have a deep appreciation for the life that art can add to a community, and are providing an opportunity for a local artist to partner with our farm. Our Farm Seeks Artist program is a call for local artists to create works that reflect on themes of farming, food, and community. Participating artists will receive a membership in our CSA program in exchange for their works.

Our data and reflections are one half of the conversation. As the season continues, we want to hear your thoughts and questions as well. Send us an email, give us a call, or find us at a community event – don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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