Heartstrong Farm LLC
A loan of $5,000 helps us purchase organic soil amendments, equipment, and tools to sustain our small-scale vegetable, flower, and herb farm through the start-up year so that we can continue to provide for our local community going forward.
I spent most of my childhood in the Caribbean climbing avocado and mango trees to pick their fruits and buying fresh fish and other delights at markets with my mother. When we moved back to the U.S., we were in a big city and shopping for our food became much more confusing. We didn’t have space to have a garden, and were buying foods labeled “natural” and “organic” without really knowing what those labels entailed. In an effort to gain some clarity, I WWOOFed on a small-scale diversified farm one summer and learned to grow food for and in community. That experience showed me just how much there is to learn in the soil, and how deeply we connect with others through our food. This experience inspired me to pursue food and agriculture studies, and apprenticeships on all sorts of farms. My husband Patrick grew up in the South, and his family always kept a garden full of favorite vegetables and herbs used in family recipes. He loves working with his hands to build and grow, and enjoys connecting with others through cooking. Together we envisioned a farm as a place to nourish our minds, bodies, and hearts, as well as the land and our community. We are fortunate to have found a productive farmland property to lease in Staley, North Carolina that is near a very productive local food area booming with farmers markets and to also be between two USDA designated food desert cities. We see ourselves as being in a unique position to support local food production through participating in its success while also increasing access and pathways to affordability.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
My husband Patrick and I started Heartstrong Farm in January of 2017. We felt called to this work because of our shared passion for good food and community and our belief that food is a beautiful gateway to friendship, stewardship, and health. As young beginning farmers we were blessed to find 16 beautiful acres of historic agricultural land in North Carolina, that has been lovingly farmed for centuries. We are continuing this tradition of diversified farming through our production of vegetables, flowers, and herbs. Our biggest challenge thus far has been supporting adequate levels of production to meet local demand for these crops. There is much interest in the local food movement in our surrounding area, as well as a need for increased access to fresh foods. We have invested thousands of dollars into start up of our farm business, and have begun to run out of resources to support the levels of high quality production we would like to offer our community. Our future goals are to grow our CSA so that community members can purchase their food straight from the source and have the opportunity to gather on our farm weekly to commune with each other and the land, and to become established producers of vegetables, flowers, and herbs in our area, sourcing especially to areas that have not had as much access to these products. We are very proud to be a husband-and-wife business team and that we have the opportunity to steward the land in such a way that provides sustenance and beauty for others as well as ourselves.
What is the purpose of this loan?
Our farm business will tremendously benefit from this loan as it will enable us to shift from our current production with sparse materials and resources, to more efficient and scalable production by utilizing the appropriate inputs, tools, and resources for increased high quality production of vegetables, cut flowers, and herbs for our local community. This increased capacity and production will help us to establish our farm presence and brand through consistency, high quality, and beautiful displays of our bounty, as well as help our chances of success as young beginning farmers. We truly feel called to provide wholesome food and beautiful flowers for our community (we are located in a culturally rich rural agricultural area between two USDA designated food desert cities) and to steward the land, and we look forward to continuing to grow for and with our community.
This Kiva loan, in addition to our personal investments, will allow us to purchase enough compost (we pay $240/10 yards covering about 1/5 of our production acreage), organic fertilizer ($13/bag that covers 3 100′ beds), potting soil ($15/bag), row cover for frost protection and season extension ($2,000 to cover most of our production area), market tables and display materials ($200), wheel hoe ($185) for streamlining weeding between rows, farmers market fees ($700 total to attend our 3 markets for 26 weeks), drip irrigation materials ($300 drip tape and fittings to irrigate our 60 100′ production beds), signage ($100), and additional seed ($100), as well as cover the cost of transportation between our markets, supply pick ups, and deliveries, and also provide us with a small buffer in the case of crop failure.
We have purchased just enough of these inputs to get us started this growing season, but this loan will truly help to sustain us throughout our first year.
Years in operation: New Business