Sweet Beet Farm
When we started out on the path to building a Food Hub, we knew one thing for sure: we wanted to be active in reclaiming the knowledge of how to grow food responsibly and in harmony with nature.
How we got started
It all began in 2015, right when we were just getting started as a hub several community members welcomed us to cultivate some of their land at no cost to us. It is because of this generosity that we were able to start up our own growing operation and really begin exploring and testing restorative agriculture and permaculture principles.
Collectively we started with about 1.5 acres across 3 plots of land throughout the town of Bradford. Our primary goals starting out were to feed ourselves and sell quality vegetables through Sweet Beet Farm Stand. Starting the farm and farm stand together opened the door to learning about the entire supply chain, from seed to shelf to grocery bag!
Learning as we grow
Some of us had experience on farms, some of us did not, but certainly we all had little idea what we were doing when we started out! Each year we gain a little more footing on the farm. We are open to any and all recommendations, and seek out advice through research, mentors, and fellow farmers in our area. It is an ongoing learning process!
What we Grow
We started by growing quite a variety of annual crops to get a feel for how different things grow, and also not really knowing what our food system needed. As the farm has grown alongside our knowledge and awareness of what is being grown around us, we have begun to narrow our focus to intentionally fill gaps we see in the market, and to be careful not to flood the market with more than it can needs.
Seeing a need for more storage crops, we grow lots of onions and winter squash, and potatoes.
In our high tunnel we grow tomatoes and greens. We do dabble with other things, like peppers, hot and sweet, and eggplant.
The gardens are always dotted with herbs and flowers, too.
And, of course, we grow BEETS!
We are getting more into perennials, as part of a dynamic permaculture system. Strawberry and asparagus patches and blackberry bushes are among the perennial friends joining the farm.
how we grow
We've learned that this question of how is just as important, if not more, than the what. Our how currently looks something like this:
- We operate completely chemical free.
- We explore Integrated Pest Management techniques.
- We prioritize soil health through measures like crop rotation and cover crops.
- We actively incorporate season-extending methods like high tunnels, hoop houses, and A-frames.
- We diligently consider all inputs on the farm and prioritize local, sustainable materials.
- We actively consider when and where we can reduce and reuse waste.
- We welcome local schools and the community into our operations through volunteer and internship opportunities.
We have working relationships with local schools to put students to work on the farm. We host kids here in Bradford and can you connect with other local farms! Learn more about student volunteer opportunities here.
Building our farm
We want to share with you our vision, and those that inspire us, of what healthy gardens look like. Stay tuned for more information on our growing operation, techniques, projects, and plans for the future!