My wife Margaret and I started Groundworks Farm 7 years ago. She was 21 and I was 22 years old when we started this business and I never expected to come as far as we have come. We struggled for many years to make ends meet on leased property at first, and more recently on land we own. Now, at 27 and 28, we’ve never felt so successful or supported by our members and community. Our vision of a successful Whole Diet CSA has come true before our eyes, and I feel compelled to express my eternal gratitude to everyone who has ever helped us–and Groundworks Farm–reach this point.
When we started our own farm we already had about 4 years combined experience as farm hands for other farmers, which was a great asset. But, we had no business experience, no equipment, no money, and really no idea what we were up against. Starting a farm, as it turns out, is not for the faint of heart. It is a rocky road full of the highest highs and lowest lows, as many of you know.
I’ll sum up the history of Groundworks Farm quickly like this:
Our first season we did one farmers market in Concord NH, and somehow we were able to round up 10 or so CSA members to pick up on the farm (then called Huckins’ Farm) in Hebron, NH. We grew produce and Pasture-raised Chicken. That first boot-strapped year we learned a lot. After that first year we had an opportunity to lease a larger farm in Vermont. We started from scratch again the very next year–moving our greenhouse and all our supplies over the winter. That next year we switched to CSA-only and started to take steps towards our dream of a Whole Diet CSA. We added hogs and laying hens to our produce and pastured poultry operation that year. We learned a lot and continued pinching pennies to get the farm started. We were there one more year and added our Meat Share option. We then had the exciting opportunity to purchase our farm in Maryland, where we started from scratch yet again. We hit the ground running–building all our infrastructure from the ground up while spreading the word and farming all at the same time! The first year in Maryland we supplied 200 families–an astonishingly high number for our first season in the area. A good sign! The second year in Maryland we supplied 250 families. This year we supply 300 families and are starting to experience recognition and success we never dreamed of 7 years ago.
What we lacked in experience that first year we made up for in energy, open minds, a desire to succeed at all costs, an eternally optimistic attitude….and, A LOT of support from friends and family. Looking back now, if we had been lacking in any of these categories–especially friends and family–we would have failed. We are happy to have endured the tests of these past 7 years, and are truly grateful for the blessed lives we have lived thus far!
We’ve come to find friends in our CSA members, neighbors, and partners who have come on this journey with us–and we are forever in your debt for all you have done for us. Truly we consider you all friends-and we are truly rich in friends.
We have never been so committed to the goal and dream of a Whole Diet CSA as we are today, and we believe in it profoundly. Our greatest desire is to provide the best food and CSA experience possible in the most environmentally responsible manner. We hope to continue to farm for many years to come, and will keep you all informed of our continued progress.