The Class of 2021, friends, and family gathered both virtually and in person at McHenry County College on December 11th to celebrate this year’s Stateline Farm Beginnings® graduation. Stateline Farm Beginnings® is a year-long preparatory course in farm business planning. Rooted in the principles of holistic management and farm viability, participants take a wide-lens approach to their farm dream by exploring how to achieve their personal and professional aspirations. Graduation was a space for participants to share their farm plan with the group, give and receive feedback, and recognize their individual accomplishments from the year.
Peggy and Ari are software developers turned farmers. They have been accepted into Prairie Crossing Farm Business Development Center in Grayslake, Illinois, where they plan to launch Silver Fox Farm. Their principal product will be salad kits made with all local and sustainably grown ingredients. Follow along with them on Instagram @silverfoxfarmers.
You may recognize partners Andrea and Rebeca from our earlier post. Last year, Andrea enrolled in a three month course from Urban Triage, which she says, “opened my eyes to the depth of racism in Wisconsin and brought me to look deeper into racism in agriculture.” Together, Andrea and Rebeca are turning their dream of promoting equity in farming into reality by making their small farm available to farmers of diverse genders, sexualities, and racial and ethnic identities, who use the land and other farm resources to grow their own agriculture-based enterprises. Rebeca shared that, “It seems our dreams require a lot of work,” but their sleeves are already rolled up.
Yahdi is excited to launch Free Movement Farm. They say, “I fell into farming when I was googling careers to move my body more. I started volunteering on a farm, and it was the calmest I had ever felt.” In addition to producing food, Yahdi is planning a residential compost program where people give food scraps. They want to make composting more accessible in every way possible because, “nobody on this earth is free from the harm of being disconnected from the waste we produce.” Reflecting on Stateline Farm Beginnings®, Yahdi says, “This was like a year-long journal prompt. I had to reframe my dream into something that can support myself.” Follow their journey on Instagram @ugrowing2, and if you would like to support, head to Yahdi’s farm dream page on Go Fund Me.
Andy has six years of farm work experience and is excited to plan a farm of his own. While working on a livestock farm, he learned that his passion is in vegetable production. Andy has worked all over our region, and hopes to start his farm in the Milwaukee area.
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
Special thank you to the Center for Agrarian Learning at McHenry County College for hosting our hybrid sessions this year! Learn more about Stateline Farm Beginnings® here.