When I was around 18 years old I started to play around with gardening in my small urban apartment where my family lived. We only had access to a small yard that was shared with a few other families but I felt an urge to take a small bit of that yard and transform it into a productive food space. Back then I didn’t know much about gardening or food production, I did some quick googling, bought some pots, soil, seeds, and gave it a shot. Sure, some things grew and it was a fun experience, but I wanted more. I didn’t grow up on a farm. My family didn’t always grow our own food, or even pay very much attention to the things we were putting into our bodies. It wasn’t until I was 18 and both my parent had serious health scares that easily could have landed them in a cemetery that I decided to act. Seeing both my parents get sick had a profound transformation in the way I thought about the food we eat and the things we consume.
I made it a goal to change the things we had in our fridge. I started shopping at farmers markets, I started cooking more, I wanted to learn as much as could about the way we produce, distribute, and consume food. This led me to going back to the source of where our food comes from and this is where the journey began into my life of farming.
THE START OF HORNE FAMILY FARMS
After a few years of farming on the urban scale, educating children in schools about the importance of gardening and cooking, and reading as much as I could about farming, I decided to go back to school to really build my foundation and immerse myself in the lifestyle and practice. I spent a year as a student farmer at The Farm School in Athol, MA and the experience I had here was exactly what I was looking for. Starting my own farm- a small business that would affect positive change in the lives and well being of the people I love and those in the surrounding communities- that was always the goal. The Farm School has played an integral part in preparing me to take on this exciting endeavor. My time away and immersing myself in this work gave me a very clear and direct focus into what I wanted to create. I spent countless hours thinking, studying, and planning for how to make this happen.
Of course in order for this to work, I needed land, which is always the hardest thing for young farmers like myself to acquire. During my time researching and looking for a viable spot to start, a good friend of mine reached out. Mike Ducharme, who I met while implementing gardens into Lowell Public Schools, explained that he had a plot of land he wanted to farm. He was eager and enthused about the idea, but with 2-year-old twin boys and a new career as a school principal, he simply did not have the time The farm spot is located in Londonderry NH and it is an old horse farm that is 2 acres with a beautiful half-acre fenced in plot. The size and scale is perfect for me because, for the most part, I will be doing the physical labor of farming by myself.
USING KICKSTARTER AND CROWDSOURCING THE FARM
In order for Horne Family Farms to really come to fruition, I need to raise enough start up capital to continue to grow and expand the farming operations. So far I have been growing and selling specialty micro greens to restaurants in the greater Merrimack valley region. I have designed and built a very productive food-producing garden for a family, and I have started to prepare the farm plot for growing vegetables for next season. With your help and a successful kickstarter campaign I will be able to fund the following projects:
Purchase & Build Greenhouses $3000
Proper Hand tools & equipment $500
Seeding Trays $200
Compost/ mulch/ fertilizer $1500
Chicken Coop $500
Irrigation/ Wash and Pack Area $1500
Marketing and Website $1000
This model of farming is much different from how most farms have started up and operated in our history. Most of the time, farms are huge areas that require lots of people and resources to make it possible; they require outrageous loans for equipment purchases before they ever put a seed in the ground. Horne Family Farms is different because I want to show that you don’t need hundreds of acres of land or a $60,000 tractor to farm and produce high quality vegetables. With help and support from the community, small start up and overhead costs, great technique, and hard work, we together can create an amazing food producing space that is feeding people great food. I am not claiming I can feed everyone, but I can start to feed a small community of supporters, and I can inspire and teach the community around me to become more self-reliant and become great vegetable growers themselves. I hope you come on this journey with me, together we can create something beautiful and become healthier individuals and in tern, a healthier more sustainable world.
Risks and challenges
There are of course many risks and challenges with trying to grow and sell vegetables like anything else. One obvious risk is that this plot of land hasn’t been farmed on much in the past; there is a lot of work to be done to prepare the area and get it ready for proper vegetable growing. With that said, I am using all organic practices to help mitigate and prepare the land for great vegetable growing.
Another risk and challenge is that I will be doing the majority of the work solo. This includes field prep, seeding, growing, harvesting, marketing, selling, and accounting. I have help and support in some areas but the majority of the work will be done by me so proper efficient systems need to be in place before the first seed goes into the ground. I will be investing in new technologies that will increase productivity and efficiencies with farming.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)