Vanessa Quiñones, the dynamic owner-operator of The Victory Garden Farm, joined Angelic Organics Learning Center’s farmer training community in 2014 as a Stateline Farm BeginningsⓇ participant. In 2021, the public voted her as Beginning Farmer of the Year, an award presented by Routes to Farm, an alliance of farmer training organizations across Illinois and Indiana.
The Victory Garden Farm sits on five beautiful acres in Fredonia, Wisconsin. The farm’s mission statement reads, “We strive to leave the land better than how we found it by increasing biodiversity and building strong sustainable systems. We supply our local community, friends and family with the healthiest, best tasting food possible.”
The farm operates a successful farm store, with products that have been featured on many local restaurant menus. Vanessa understands the need to continually pivot, and the viability of her farm grows each year. In 2021, despite the constraints of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Victory Garden Farm doubled in size and hired its first two employees. Her latest accomplishment? Vanessa went on vacation at the end of the 2021 growing season – something all farmers know as a feat to behold.
Vanessa masterfully balances her passion with the realities of the unforgiving trade. When asked what advice she would give to her younger self, Vanessa says, “Start small! Do not take on too many enterprises at once.” Great advice from a farmer who has learned to roll with the punches.
Keep up with Vanessa’s work by following The Victory Garden Farm on Facebook and Instagram.
about the Award
The Beginning Farmer of the Year award is sponsored by the collaborating Farmer Alliances in Routes to Farm, serving beginning farmers across the greater Chicago foodshed. Routes to Farm is generously supported by Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.