On the 1st of March, we received a loan from the Fair Finance Fund! This is a big milestone for our farm, and we are so pleased to have received this help from such a fabulous organization. The Fair Finance Fund provides loans and mentorship services to local food and farm enterprises that value strong local food systems, local economies, and a healthy planet. Access to capital is a large barrier for many farmers (including us!), so this is the kind of financing enterprise our local food system needs! We are very excited to be involved with the Fair Finance Fund. Learn more about them here https://fairfinancefund.org/
So what will we use this loan for?
A new well and pump. The well and pump that serves the house doesn’t have the capacity to provide irrigation for our field. (We also received a grant from the Carrot Cache to help with this, which is another super cool organization you should check out).
A new hydro pole – to serve our electricity needs (until one day when we can go solar??)
3 greenhouses/hoophouses (it was going to be two but because of location/size issues we divided them into three). One will be a propagation house for our seedlings, one will be for tomatoes/peppers/eggplants, and one will be for season extension, which means spring/fall greens primarily.
A wood-burning outdoor furnace to heat our hoophouses in the spring. We’re excited about this eco-friendly way of heating and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. And we have loads of hawthorn trees on the farm which will be excellent for firewood.
A processing station/packhouse. This is a place to store, wash, process, and pack our veggies. Our big plans were to build a barn for our packhouse and storage. As you may know, we took down an old barn for materials to do this. But time constraints and financing has steered us in an alternate direction (for now). We’ll be building a more temporary packhouse to last us a few years until we can build our barn.
Other equipment such as insect netting, a new seeder, harvest bins and crates, and marketing materials.
So far, we’ve got the well dug and hydro pole installed. We’ve been busy building our hoophouses and setting up our new furnace (trailers full of wood and hoops, trips to the hardware store, late-night carpentry, drills and bolts, nails and wires, fans and heat exchangers, plastic-pulling parties, muddy boots, dry hands, moments of admiration, frustration, and accomplishment). Only a few finishing touches remain before we can start our seedlings!
Having the capital we need to start up our farm is a big relief and encouragement. Growing a farm is a huge investment. Although we acquired plenty of equipment throughout our years farming elsewhere, we have big infrastructure needs on our new land. Being able to set up this infrastructure right away means we can get started growing in a way that maximizes our efficiency and productivity – and that means we can start working towards a farm that is a big part of our community and a financially viable way of life for us!