"Working with the Farm Service Agency (FSA), we were able to secure additional land and buildings just next door in early April 2012," says Kelly. “One aspect of farming that is not well understood by most is just how difficult it is to get started, particularly if you want to avoid huge amounts of debt. We tried to take a balanced approach by purchasing, with the help of the FSA, the small property adjacent to Kelly's family's land. On the two properties, we have perhaps five acres of land that can be used to grow crops. Important to our decision to purchase was that we simply wanted to get started, and that we believe we have the skills to make a living farming on this property. That being said, we already have an eye out for nearby land to rent in the event we need it,” he continued.
“We are both very idealistic, and so it makes sense for us to do this kind of work. To us farming is not just about growing really good food—although this is certainly important! There is an element of social renewal that appeals to us,” says Kelly. “A well-organized farm can be a great place to explore how we work together with our fellow humans and also interrelate to the animal, plant, and mineral worlds”.
Although they are still working to establish their farm systems and infrastructure they have decided that this year (2013) they would welcome any of their members to the farm to help with the harvest.
“We believe that a farm can be a new type of community or social ‘center’ -- a place where people can come together to experience the natural world and work together to create something greater than the ‘sum of the parts.’ Such a community has to arise organically out of the choices of individuals, but we are constantly engaged in thinking about how we can create the conditions for this ‘center’ to arise. In that sense we view ourselves as not only orchestrators of the forces of nature, but as ‘social orchestrators’ of a sort too. We are trying to ‘prepare the soil’ in which a new kind of community -- appropriate for our time and place -- might take root and grow. This was the impulse behind the original CSA farms in the US, and we see ourselves as trying to carry on that tradition in what is a different time, with its own challenges,” says Jeff.
Three Sisters Community Farm uses the following principles to guide their work:
- Freely exercise our talents and skills to excel at the co-creation of a resilient, holistic farm center that produces an abundance of high quality and nourishing food.
- Have and maintain a high quality of life, meeting our material needs and remaining financially secure while also meeting our need for balance, for personal and collective growth, and for happiness, health and vitality.
- Steward a farm center that is aesthetically beautiful -- colorful, refreshing and alive. This place is a quiet and magical sanctuary where all can connect with and reverentially experience the beauty and rhythms of nature.
- Do work that is positive and meaningful for others, and engage in fair, equitable, collaborative relationships.
This blog post was written by Theresa Lins. Theresa is a Milwaukee-based writer and Urban Ecology Center “groupie”. She has been active in promoting the Center and its programs for over 14 years. Other than eating farm-fresh food, her favorite thing is to write about it and the people who produce it.
You can meet these farmers and many others at the Local Farmer Open House on March 9th at our Riverside Park branch. Meet and sign up with farmers, learn how you can join a CSA farm (purchase a share of the harvest) and get a box of fresh produce each week during the season. Join us for this free event!