A Land Stewardship Project article “Making Room for Relationships” drove home the point about how critical a holistic goal is for helping to define the appropriate scale of operation. Les Macare and Els Dobrick had training in Holistic Management as part of the Land Stewardship Project’s Journeyperson Program which they enrolled in during 2015.
Les and Els were managing a growing CSA as part of their Racing Heart Farm and with COVID, the demand for their CSA increased even more.. They had decided to purchase land in 2017 after a couple of seasons of renting land. They were able to get a loan from the Farm Service Agency (FSA) Beginning Farmer Loan because of the Holistic Financial Planning they had learned. “We could just hand over the spreadsheet to our loan officer and it made sense to her, it wasn’t just my chicken scratch note-keeping,” says Macare. They also used their financials to help them get a NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) loan for a hoop house.
In 2021, when the demand for their CSA went from 70 shares to 200 shares, they looked at their holistic goal and decided that they wanted to keep face to face contact with their customer base at the farmers’ market and decided to limit their CSA production to 120 shares so they could build their relationships even if that meant reducing certain efficiencies or potential gross income.
They also like to support other beginning farmers and let others use areas of the farm they aren’t using for production at low-cost arrangements. In this way, they are creating time and space to nurture the farming community as well as following production practices that feel right to them while building the soil.
Click here to see the full article in HMI’s IN PRACTICE Issue #202.
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