“What speaks to us is the volume and quality of food we can produce,” Tyler Gaudet, co-founder Fluid Farms Aquaponics, North Yarmouth, Maine.
For five generations, the Cleggs have been farming on land in Seekonk, Massachusetts. Today, their plots total 200 acres. They “grow what the market wants. Anything everyone else grows,” they don’t.
For Chris of Siena Farms, his 700-member adult CSA program and separate youth CSA gives him a “direct relationship with his customers.” The CSA also helps “in the bad years and the good years. It is seed money… that much less to get from the bank.” (Siena Farms, Sudbury, Massachusetts)
“We should eat less meat, but really good meat,” says Pat of Pat’s Pastured, East Greenwich, Rhode Island.
Purveyor of micro greens and edible blossoms Lee Ann Freitas tells us: “By necessity, I need to use this in most profitable way. I think in ounces not pounds.” (Indie Growers, Bristol, Rhode Island)
Krystin Ward, owner/operator of aquaculture farm Choice Oysters, says, “It’s a good cycle we have going on — growing oysters to eat, recycling their shells, and rebuilding habitats [in New Hampshire’s Great Bay].”
Chuck Cox has made a concentrated effort to sell produce to Oyster River Coop School District where 10 percent of all food purchasing must be local. “When kids get involved in the garden, food makes a lot more sense,” says Cox. (Tuckaway Farm, Lee, New Hampshire)
Veggies for All, a unique food bank farm, helps alleviate hunger in and around Unity, Maine. “I’m not interested in challenging my clients who are also already up against so much,” says Sara Trunzo of the decision to only grow what is easy for their hungry clients to cook with. One weekend a month, in just two hours, the Veggies for All food pantry serves up to 800 clients who need some flexibility with their household budget at the end of the month.
Nonprofit farms like City Farm and The Food Project give new farmers in urban settings much-needed support. Rich Pederson of City Farm says, “A non-profit gives people the resources to farm. Because if you don’t have the family farm to inherit, how do you start?”
“If you want to buy local then visit your farmer. You can tell a lot from how the farmer runs her farm,” says Doug Hartkopf of Hart-to-Hart Farm in Albion, Maine.
New Urban Farmers leases land from the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to house a geodesic dome in a low-income housing development. “We hope that we are creating a love for fresh food, nature, but also communal space. A connection to land can be a connection to the community,” says Emily Jodka, co-founder.
“Long-term there needs to be a rebalancing of all the relationships in the food system. A food system is an ecosystem and it all affects each other. The relationship between the consumer and the farmer is just one relationship we need to mend,” says Sutton Kiplinger, Greater Boston Regional Director of The Food Project.
At top, Glenn Charles rides through Albion, Maine. Camera on self-timer.