Bovina Center, NY
A loan of $10,000 helps me to double our production and get our flowers and produce to market.
Irene and I came to farming on two different roads. Irene, from New Jersey, has a background in landscape conservation. Armed with an MS from the University of Pennsylvania, she set out to conserve farmland in the most direct way possible: by working on it. She believes that the more people rely on the land, the better stewards of it they become. I’m from California, and studied sustainable development at NYU. I fell in love with farming while a Fulbright scholar in Mali and Senegal, researching farmers who resisted the loss of their lands to industrial-sized operations. Irene and I converged on a vegetable farm in Argentina in 2011, and we’ve been farming side-by-side ever since. Together, we have combined farming experiences of more than a decade.
We are committed to small-scale, ecologically-minded agriculture because we have seen the kinds of impacts large-scale farming can have on people and on the environment. There is a small but growing movement of organic farmers devoted to strengthening communities, providing healthy food, and leaving a small environmental footprint where they work – and we are proud to be a part of it.
We love what we do and enjoy the benefits of living off the land and by the seasons. We hope our work will bring more healthy and beautiful produce into the world, and encourage others to do the same.
Treadlight Farm began in 2015 in Bovina, NY, growing specialty cut flowers, other ornamentals, and vegetables. In our first year, working on just half an acre, we sold our products at three local farmers markets, to retail outlets, and provided flowers for several weddings. Amazingly, we still had produce left over – so this year we’re excited to take our products to two new markets in the New York City area.
Our goal is to open up a new half-acre each year until we reach two acres of annual flowers and vegetables. Since our growing season is cool and short at these high elevations, we focus on specialty cut flowers for the summer, and salad greens and storage vegetables for the winter. Many of the most highly prized cut flowers – such as delphinium, poppies, sweet peas, and godetia – thrive in our cooler temperatures. And our storage vegetables can be sold all throughout the winter, ensuring year-round income.
Our unique, “no-till” growing methods set us apart from most other farms. Our fields are tilled only once, and after the initial tillage we build permanent raised beds, add compost, cover the soil with mulch cut from nearby hay and grain fields, and plant into it. These methods greatly reduce our overhead and operation expenses. The mulch makes sure we do not have to spend time and energy battling the weeds, and can instead focus on planting and harvesting.
Our mulch breaks down over the season and creates new soil on top of the beds; prevents erosion; provides habitat for insect communities; encourages healthy soil; reduces the need for irrigation and fertilizer; and eliminates the fossil fuels associated with annual tillage and cultivation. We are creating soil fertility right where it’s needed!
We are requesting a loan for the following items.
Delivery Vehicle ($5,000 used): We are taking our produce to two new markets in the New York City area, and we need a bigger vehicle than our pickup truck! Flowers and produce need to be protected from the elements when driving long distances, and we need a vehicle that can handle all of our produce as well as our market materials (tents, tables, stands, signs, containers, and packaging).
Walk-in Cooler ($3,000): A walk-in cooler changes everything for a farm. No longer will we have to harvest everything the day before farmers markets. With a walk-in cooler, we can harvest over several days and keep items fresh in the cooler, making sure we minimize waste and get the most out of what we grow.
Irrigation System ($2,000): this irrigation system will be added to our current system, making it large enough for our expansion this season and beyond.
About Treadlight Farm
- Years in Operation:
- 1 year – 3 years