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Help two young farmers start a diversified, draft-powered farm in upstate NY.
160 backers pledged $12,196 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$12,196

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HOXIE GORGE FARM is a diversified farm* in upstate NY powered by draft horses and mules**, and young farmers. 

We (Aubrey Schatz and Scott Hoffman) have been farming for a combined 8 seasons on a number of farms across the Northeast. We have found diversified, small-scale farming to be an incredibly rewarding lifestyle and are ready to start our own operation. 

Scott is a former apprentice at the Northland Sheep Dairy in Marathon, NY, where owners Maryrose Livingston and Donn Hewes have run a 100% grass-fed sheep dairy and have trained horses and mules for farmwork for the last 15 years. They have been looking for a young couple to start a partner operation on their land, and we happen to fit their bill. 

Our operation will have several aspects: Draft-powered vegetables, grains and beans; a small raw cow's milk dairy; and pasture- and woods- raised pigs, goats and chickens for meat and eggs (goat and pig eggs are difficult to come by so we are going to stick to chicken eggs). 

We plan to sell all of our produce on-farm and to local markets. We believe strongly in the value of feeding your immediate community good, responsibly produced food. 

Donn and Maryrose have much of the equipment and infrastructure we would need to start our operation, but we need additional capital to purchase the following animals and equipment:

  • 2 bred dairy cows ($2500)
  • 100 laying pullets ($900)
  • equipment for raw milk bottling & storage ($1200)
  • vegetable, grain and bean seed ($1300)
  • vegetable cleaning and storage infrastructure ($1550)
  • land rental ($700)
  • hay and grain for dairy cows, pigs, goats, and broiler and layer chickens (until we start producing our own in year 2!) ($1850) 
We will also be sinking most of our personal savings into this venture. We are committed to making this farm produce food for a long time and will not be taking shortcuts. Farming is our passion; we are incredibly excited to have this opportunity and want to use it to its fullest potential.  

*diversified farm: a farm which produces a variety of agricultural products, usually in a manner whereby the different enterprises support each other in a beautifully complex web of activity, orchestrated by the farmers. 

**draft horses and mules: horses and mules which have been bred and trained for farmwork, e.g plowing, making hay, etc. Think Amish farms. Or imagine the Budweiser clydesdales in a pastoral setting, doing productive agricultural work. 

Risks and challenges

Agriculture is an inherently risky occupation, as we are constantly dealing with that concept least amenable to human control: the weather. Farmers across the globe face droughts, flooding, toxic rain, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, lightning and extreme heat and cold (e.g. we have milked cows in -30F), not to mention pest infestations, excessive weed proliferation, fatal accidents involving machinery, equipment failure... Friends of ours in VT lost their whole farm when a river redirected its course through their vegetable fields during Hurricane Irene. Aubrey broke her ankle in 2011 playing soccer and couldn't farm for 6 months. Scott has been in several minor accidents involving horses, and there are plenty of stories of farmers getting gored by cattle, or eaten by pigs, or rolling over in their tractors. Working draft animals is also inherently risky- the horses and mules we work weigh close to 2000 lbs and they have minds and wills of their own.

However...

We have been farmers long enough to understand these risks, and part of the value of diversified farming is that one's risk is spread out over several ventures- even if all of our squash died, we would still have our goats, pigs, wheat, etc.

This is more than a job for us- it is our life, and as such we are committed to giving it 110% of our effort and attention. We are interested in being excellent, efficient, thorough, responsible farmers and nothing less than that.

That said, if something were to occur, we would notify our kickstarter backers and do our best to provide those who were promised rewards an equivalent but different reward. In addition, most of our rewards are agricultural products which already exist- we will be able to deliver those rewards regardless of the success and failures of our farm.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Thank you! No, seriously. We'll send you a beautiful thank-you card with a scene from our farming year. It won't be of us just standing still, we promise.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    An autographed photo of Pete, the mule. How's a mule going to sign a photo?? You'll see.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Grab Bag of Hoxie Gorge Awesome: We'll send you something cool we grew/ produced this season. It'll be awesome and it will have been grown with draft power and there are very few things cooler than that.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    One awesome Hoxie Gorge Farm coffee mug and an autographed photo of Pete!

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    One skein of Northland Sheep Dairy yarn! (varying colors and thicknesses available) and an awesome Hoxie Gorge Farm coffee mug.

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    Reward no longer available 15 backers
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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    3 skeins of Northland Sheep Dairy yarn (varying colors and thicknesses available) and an awesome Hoxie Gorge Farm coffee mug.

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    Reward no longer available 25 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    A mug and a super nice canvas tote bag with the elegant Hoxie Gorge Farm logo. Yes that's right, we're offering a tote bag just like PBS and NPR, except we're not in public broadcasting but we are a public farm, and we'll be right back with your scheduled programming just as soon as we finish telling you how awesome the tote bag is. Plus, coffee mug!

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    We'll make a video for you on the farm. Think of us as the weird custom farm-based digital Hallmark. Want to propose to your wife? Want to sing happy birthday in Swedish to your cousin? We'll make a quirky, personalized 30 second video incorporating farm animals and landscapes. You tell us what you want us to say in 15 words or less and we'll say it.
    We'll also say one and only one word 400 times if you want, in that same 30 seconds. Want to embarrass your friend Kevin? What better way than to have two random farmers in upstate NY say his name 400 times in 30 seconds. I mean, that'll be the best email he's ever received in his entire life. Think about it.
    We're marking May as the delivery time, but really you can pick when you want this thing delivered to your inbox.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    A 25 Lb. box of Hoxie Gorge winter root veggies! Potatoes, beets, onions, celeriac, and much more. Once harvested around October, we will mail this box to you along with some of our favorite recipes and a selection of photos from our season of farming thus far.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    One lovely tanned Northland Sheep Dairy sheepskin and an awesome Hoxie Gorge coffee mug!

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    Pledge US$ 400 or more About US$ 400

    Local Option: Summer dinner for you and 3 of your friends at Hoxie Gorge Farm/ The Northland Sheep Dairy. Meet the land, animals and crops, then enjoy a delicious 4-course meal with farm produce cooked by Aubrey and Scott.

    Non-local option: 25lb box of winter veggies, three skeins of Northland Sheep Dairy yarn and 2 lbs of a variety of delicious Northland Sheep Dairy cheeses!

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    Local Option: Teamster training weekend for up to 2 people with teamster trainer Donn Hewes. Learn the basics of working with horses and mules and have fun in the process. Meals included and good camping available on-site. Avail. May-Sept.

    Non-local option: 25 lb box of winter veggies, three skeins of Northland Sheep Dairy yarn, 3 lbs of Northland Sheep Dairy cheese and a hat knit by Aubrey!

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Local Option: One-day cheesemaking session with master cheesemaker Maryrose Livingston of the Northland Sheep Dairy. Learn how Northland's delicious cheese is produced, from milking to wrapping! Avail May-Oct.

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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Non-local option A: Name one of our dairy cows! We'll send you some photos and we'll call her whatever you want. Crayon. Honda. Chrysanthemum. Antidisestablishmentarianism. (we might call that one just -ism.)
    We'll also send you a 25 lb box of winter veggies, 2 lbs of Northland Sheep Dairy cheese and a hat knit by Aubrey from Northland Sheep Dairy yarn.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    Non-local option B: A wheel of Northland Sheep Dairy cheese of your choice, plus a throw knit from Northland Sheep Dairy yarn. You will be warm AND have delicious cheese. We literally cannot think of a better combo.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    2 options! Please take your pick:

    Option A: Be a farmer!! Become one of us!! Or at least try it out for a day, we think you will have fun! Milk a cow, harvest vegetables, plow with horses, collect eggs, feed the pigs, get very dirty and sweaty and tired and feel simply awesome! Then eat dinner with Scott, Aubrey, Donn and Maryrose. At the end of the day you just might want to become a farmer and, if not, you learned a lot, had fun, and we'll send you home with lots of yummy food and some other Hoxie Gorge Farm souveniers.

    Option B: Don't live nearby? No worries, we'll send you some of the sweet stuff you've already read about:
    1 Northland Sheep Dairy sheepskin
    1 box (25lbs) of Hoxie Gorge Farm winter veggies
    3 lbs of Northland Sheep Dairy cheese
    1 Hat made from Northland Sheep Dairy wool hand knit by Aubrey
    2 Hoxie Gorge Farm coffee mugs
    1 autographed photo of Pete

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    Limited 2 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)