As many of you know, Linda met a long-awaited goal a few weeks ago. While teaching full-time, she managed to create a new academic program and get it certified by the State, converted 140 acres of cash-rent land to certified organic production at the college farm, and raised around $600,000 for some infrastructure (including some Leed-certified buildings), planning, and three year’s salary for a farm manager in her “spare” time. Since projects like these are ongoing and never seem to end, I thought that this would be a good time to stop and recognize the work she’s done.
The recently hired farm manager is a graduate of the Master’s Program in Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State and also holds an MBA. He will be a great person to lead the charge full-time to train young and old, new residents and old-timers in theory, field production, marketing, and business management for entrepreneurial farmers.
The program aims to be an “incubator farm” that people who want to start farming can access land, take classes as necessary, and a be part of a network of like-minded people who see opportunity in value-added, niche, and organic products. A planned second phase will include an incubator kitchen where packaged food can be produced and sold. It’s been a long and eventful four years from idea to where the program is today.