What are you dreams? That could be a confusing question since the word dream has so many connotations associated with it. In this context however, when we say dream we mean “a cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal”. So what are your dreams? Some dream big, so big that we call it fantasy. Others dreams are more realistic but somehow still out of their reach, remaining a dream. How do we make these dreams realities?
To answer the question we asked you, our dream has been to establish our micro farm – Bain Home Gardens. We have made great strides in making this dream a reality. It has been a real fight! Why? Well starting any business is a challenge. Start up costs can keep companies in the red for years. Making a profit is not even expected the first few years. A farm is no different. We knew this so with the help our our friends at Hawkins Homestead Farm we researched grants for beginning farmers around the middle of 2018. We found that there are programs out there that could benefit us so we applied for quite a few. The Cultivating Change grant by Greener Fields Together was a big one and it was so enjoyable to participate in! We rallied the support of our friends, families, & the community. Although we were not awarded any funds from the Cultivating Change grant, participation in it really helped us to outline exactly what tools and resources we really needed to reach our goals. This proved beneficial when applying for other grant programs.
We also completed applications with the USDA. Our local USDA office patiently guided us through the process of the mountains of paperwork and the thousands of questions we had. We were informed that things were delayed for 2019. This was disappointing since we were hoping to expand our operation to support our new joint venture with Hawkins Homestead Farm, Kith & Kin CSA. However, we continued to move forward. We made due with the resources we had and planted every plot we could! In April of 2019 Kith & Kin CSA made its first deliveries! That was A DREAM COME TRUE! It was a combined dream of myself & Rachel. I had tears of joy and all kinds of anxiety about how the upcoming weeks would go. However, things turned out better than we could have ever imagined!
Interestingly enough, this same month, just a few days after our first delivers were made, Bain Home Gardens received approval for a high tunnel house or hoop house! Technicians came out to our little farm and together we designated an area for the hoop house and measured it off. As we were counting off and measuring I was in a world of disbelief. Is this REALLY HAPPENING? The answer – YES!
After approval the next stage is planning. We immediately dove right into research about hoop houses – EVERYTHING WE COULD FIND! In addition, we wanted to make sure that we stayed within USDA organic guidelines with this build. Therefore we strenuously researched and made contact with experienced outreach specialists for the USDA to ensure we were in compliance.
The next big challenge was deciding on which type of tunnel house we wanted to build. We decided to go with a wood frame. As we wanted it to be as permanent a structure as possible. We were put in contact with knowledgeable builders who have years of experience in building and growing inside of high tunnels. Although our specifications were outside of what they were accustomed to, they worked tirelessly aiding us to completion of our hoop house. We felt so loved as friends who are practically family, showed up with tools, gloves, and hardhats lending their labor of love to help us build our dream! We are happy to say that on December 11, 2019, on our 20th Wedding Anniversary, we completed the building of the hoop house. We affectionately call her Hoopty! We are so very thankful to everyone that was involved. This project has drawn our family even closer! I guess you could say the family that farms together, stays together!
We know that there will be a learning curve involved in growing in Hoopty so we have done our due diligence in researching and learning from experienced growers locally and abroad. Still, we continue to plant in the existing plots on the farm while planting our own starts inside of Hoopty as they come to size. It looks like 2020 just might be our biggest growing season yet!
So what are your big dreams? They may not be easily accomplished, as we can surely testify to. However, with the help of those who care, those who know and understand your vision, it is possible! So DO NOT GIVE UP! Connect with those who share your dreams and MAKE THEM A REALITY!