Type: Mushrooms, seasonal vegetables & flowers
Years in operation: 2
Annual revenue: 10k-50k
(Average over last three years)
We are a small-scale diversified farm located on the banks of Aravaipa Creek, about an hour north of Tucson, AZ. We have 5 acres with about 1.5 acres in cultivation. We grow oyster and shiitake mushrooms, seasonal vegetables and flowers. We use mostly hand tools and a walking tractor to keep costs low and intensively manage our small space. Right now it is only my partner and I maintaining the farm with some help of volunteers.
Inside the Farm
How is your approach to farming different than other farms in the same category?
What sets us apart is our constant obsession with water. Living in the Southwest in order to keep farming sustainably farms must be vigilant about they're water use. We irrigate in a way to create deeper roots, so our crops can tolerate the constant drought conditions. We reuse the water used to make our mushrooms logs by diverting it to trees and nearby rows. We till minimally in order to maintain the soils precious eco-system, thereby making it able to hold water better. We chose our land next to a river valley to secure water for future generations. It is always at the forefront of our minds with everything we do on our farm. We also strive to stay small, work mostly with hand-tools and our BCS walking tractor. By doing this we are able to fully utilize our small space and keep our costs low. Again, back to water. By intensively planting we create a micro-environment within our crops that keeps us from having to irrigate as much.
How does your different approach contribute to a long-term profitable growth strategy for your farm and other small farms like yours?
Most of our food in this country comes from huge farms in California. They suck the aquifers dry at any cost and only look at the short-term effects of what they are doing. I believe our model of farming is the future, especially in the arid west. When the water begins to run out and the large mono-culture farms begin to dwindle, the need for more localized sustainable farms will hugely increase. By staying small and mostly not mechanized we are able to avoid high mortgages, tractor payments and space waste. I believe that is the key to growth within a small farm. We are creating a model that future farms will follow. A model that uses water sustainably and feeds local communities.
How would you specifically use a Mortgage Lifter Lift or Mini Lift?
Right now we live in an RV on our farm. We would use the Mortgage Lifter to help us start to build a house and remove the current unlivable trailer on the house-site. That way we can house volunteers in our current RV and get some much needed consistent help. We would also use the money towards infrastructure on the farm. We have visions of a packing room, farm stand, greenhouse, fencing and a solar pump for our well. A Mini-Lift would go strait towards a new greenhouse.
Please share why you are so passionate about your farm and/or farming in general.
Here in Southern Arizona we live in a literal and figurative food desert. The closest grocery store from our farm is an hour away. While we have many farmers market in the Tucson area, the availability for fresh produce even a half hour outside the city decreases exponentially. Our vision is to feed these communities and provide better options than what is found in the freezer section of the dollar store. We are passionate about creating a sustainable model of farming in the desert southwest. People have lived and farmed here for thousands of years. We have gotten so far from our roots in this modern society and we want to share with people the beauty of eating seasonally and locally.
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