Years ago, although it seems like only yesterday, I worked for a non-profit organization conducting education for sustainable agriculture. I remember sitting at my desk while working on budgets for the organization and wondering what the farm I would start would look like. At that point, I had been to Australia for the first time and had definitely found my calling to the local food movement. The farm I saw in my head then, is starting to become a reality. Although we do not have any perennials (fruit, nuts, asparagus) planted yet and financial stability is not quite there, I feel like in three years we have already hit some pretty big milestones.
We have members that have been with us since year one that are our biggest supporters and are almost always the first to sign up each season. We have other members who are very active on our CSA Member Facebook page, helping us to grow the food culture we want to see in our communities. We are grateful for all of our members and the continued support. Without you, we couldn’t make this happen.
We’ve also developed some great wholesale relationships outside of delivering to the CSA. I remember Hannah saying that first year, “I wish there were restaurants that we could sell to.” Since the beginning, we dreamed of having close relationships with local chefs, to further our local food philosophy. Not only have we been fortunate enough to achieve that in our last two growing seasons, but in 2016 we were able to sell to the newly opened Bisman Community Food Co-op as well. We are and always will be primarily a CSA farm, but added revenue sources to further the sustainability of our farm business has been a welcome and needed addition.
As we plan for this upcoming season, we will be working on streamlining our production and harvest systems to make everything more efficient and help us to keep up with everything during the season. I am currently reading The Lean Farm by Ben Hartman, which basically applies the lean model of manufacturing (think Toyota) to a farm. We also recently picked up some new helpful tools for weed management, which is the area where we need the most improvement. I hope someday very soon I can stop saying, “We are great at growing vegetables amongst the weeds.”
We are so glad to be here in North Dakota and are dedicated to the growing local food movement. We knew when we started that this wouldn’t be easy. Through Forager Farm and the communities of people that support us, we will continue to work towards making our home state a place that we want to live, grow, eat and love.