On a long dirt road in remote East Dorset, Vermont lies Someday Farm, a diversified farm stand that is 25 years in the making. But Someday Farm is more than just a farm – it is also one of the thriving community supported agriculture (CSA) connected farms in the state. Scout Proft, one of the owners of Someday Farm, was one of the scheduled speakers for the TED style talks at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference, but was unable to make it. However, Maria Reed, a Someday Farm partner, stepped in for Proft and delivered an awesome speech that was both educational and inspirational.
“Scout and I have determined we were separated at birth,” Reed joked, as she began to dive into the passions that she and Proft share for farming and innovation. I found Reed’s description of what innovation means to Someday Farm and why they do it to be the most meaningful piece of the presentation, and would like to highlight a few key areas that I think can resonate with farmers throughout the state.
Reed introduced the topic of innovation with one simple question: Why do we innovate? There are countless answers to this question, but there are three main reasons that Someday Farm focuses on, and examples of each:
1. Maximize land usage and increase productivity.
-They strive to use each building to its full potential, for example, using the sugarhouse to dry herbs in the summer when it’s not being used for sugar.
-They barter with and lease from another farm in the community that shares their mutual dreams and goals to increase productivity
2. To keep themselves “refreshed, challenged, and engaged”
-Consistently growing new crops and adding new livestock to see what works. For example, they started with green beans, and have since added bib lettuce and mesclun greens (previously uncommon in Vermont!), asparagus, bees, chickens, and more.
3. For educational purposes. “We view education as a product; a service we can provide to the community”.
-Started a program with the local schools
-Started a community farmstand
-Have hosted and trained young people for 20 years now.
Reed’s speech on behalf of Scout Proft and Someday Farm showed how a strong passion and commitment to do what you love combined with a little innovation can lead to a thriving farm that benefits the community on so many different levels. This can range from an increase in availability of fresh, local food, to educational purposes, and just having a community hub to come to and share knowledge and passions. Continuing to innovate and and grow Vermont communities is “more of a responsibility than a challenge”, Reed states. “We all need to demand Vermont products everywhere we shop.” And of course, “support NOFA!”
Guest blogger: Kristy Ryan