We graduated from the Farm Beginnings course mid-February. This course offered through The Land Connection is a 5 month-long farm training program that takes place at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery all day every other Saturday. The course taught us so many farming and business skills to grow in new ways. We completed a thorough business plan (18 pages worth!) and presented it to our classmates for feedback. We ordered new business cards, and hit the ground running. The last month and a half has been busy with much happening “behind the scenes.” We are adapting to new formats/systems, and many “firsts”. So far, it’s been wonderful.
We are renting a shared greenhouse space out at Green Island Farm Collective in northeast Urbana. Green Island Farm Collective is another budding farm. They’re present at Urbana’s Market on the Square and have a permaculture/vegetable CSA. Already we have started as many seeds as we planted all season last year. We are on a rotation of each going to the greenhouse every other day to check on the seedlings, start a few more flats of seeds (according to our seed planting schedule), and give everything a watering. We’re planting a lot of new flowers, and all of our old favorites too–the process has felt so good to get into.
We also did another exciting thing in March: we met and visited our farm mentor! As part of our Farm Beginnings we are paired with a farm that is near in proximity and with a similar vision. We can visit and learn from through this year. We were introduced to Linda Chapman and her flower farm in Spencer, Indiana–Harvest Moon Flower Farm. We worked alongside Linda, and camped on her land for two days during our Spring Break. She taught us about greenhouses, winter growing, wedding flower how-to, more efficient planting methods, awesome tools (like a vibra-seeder?!), arranging, drying, seeding, what supplies and products are must-haves, and much more. We really packed in a lot of learning and on-farm work in a short time. And if you know us, you know we had a lot of laughs together too! It was a great experience. We couldn’t imagine a better match. We plan to go back in a few months when things are really in full swing.
Things at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery, the home of our flower farm this year, are coming alive. This Saturday will be our first Saturday setting up a table at their Spring Breakfast Open House. They open the barn doors for visitors to play with the baby goats, eat delicious pastries, and drink coffee or goat’s milk hot chocolate. We’ll be selling flowers, signing up folks for CSA shares, and letting people know about all that we’re doing this year! We have daffodils bursting open, woody blooming apple branches, and forsythia. Tulips are just behind them (for next week we hope!) These Spring Open Houses are happening every Saturday from 9am-noon until April 30th, come see us and our farm!