Farmer Profile - Kim Marsin and Rachel Reklau of Sweet Home Organics
2009 Stateline Farm Beginning Graduates launch new CSA, Sweet Home Organics!
Driving home from a Farm Dreams class at Angelic Organics in the spring of 2008, Kim Marsin and Rachel Reklau couldn’t speak.
Frustrated with the corporate world and craving a more self-sufficient and fulfilling lifestyle, the couple had signed up for the workshop to explore possibilities for living closer to the land. They were overwhelmed by the diversity of stories they encountered there, and by the realization that a similar undertaking—with all the seemingly radical lifestyle changes it entailed—was facing them.
But once the initial shock had passed, they realized that these changes would only bring them closer to the things they were already passionate about: their funky-DIY meets homey-hipster aesthetic, their commitment to conservation and ecology, and their passion for cooking and sharing food with their friends and loved ones. The only real obstacle was working out the details of how their new farming life would take shape.
So, they set out to tackle the details. Marsin quit her job at a law firm and took on internships at local farms, while Reklau continued her work at the Natural Resources department of the county forest preserve. They enrolled in Angelic Organics Learning Center 2008–09 Stateline Farm Beginnings® Program and attended farm field days through CRAFT (the Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training). They gained experience in growing techniques, formulated a business plan, and most importantly, became involved with a community of like-minded fellow farmers.
In 2009, they launched their own farm, Sweet Home Organics through an incubator program at Primrose Farm Park, a heritage dairy and livestock farm in St. Charles. They sell vegetables and herbs from an on-site farm stand and offer an 18-week CSA program. Sweet Home Organics is pesticide- and GMO-free, and is progressing toward organic certification for their land, which was used for conventional farming until 2009.
Sustainability and community involvement aren’t just buzzwords or duties for Marsin and Reklau, who take delight in creatively repurposing items that would otherwise be destined for the landfill, such as old bike parts or non-working refrigerators. Their CSA program includes a “Feed-A-Family” arm, which accepts donations to subsidize full CSA shares for low-income local families. And the Sweet Home Organics website includes a section for “Brain Food”: educational accompaniments to their nutritional offerings, including on-farm classes, an newsletter to accompany their CSA deliveries, a blog about news from the farm, and video recipes inspired by their friends the Vegetarian Librarian online cooking show for creative dishes featuring seasonal veggies, such as a Golden Beet Carrot Cake.
In the long term, the pair hope to incorporate an eco-focused retreat center into their farming endeavors. But for now, they are content to continue growing their crops, supporting their causes, and feeding their community, brains and all.