Christopher Swier’s Story
When I joined Peace Corps Ecuador my worldview expanded. Later, my wife attended nursing school. We heard more about successful small-scale, organic producers. One farmed about two miles from us. I helped process chickens and turkeys. We then moved north for a formal internship at a thriving CSA. We knew this was work for us.
Organic growing and living have been part of my life for 22 years now. This does take ample practice! We started our own small organic farm 9 years ago. We sell diversified veggies, pastured pork, mushrooms, flowers, firewood, and honey. I still process chickens and turkeys in my “free-time”, also work at a certified organic dairy in the “off-season”.
Central Michigan is a land and water rich region, with very active farming. Many families date back many generations, and would like to stay put. Employment opportunities are growing fewer. This area is ripe for entrepreneurial ag. Neighbors and family often have ample space and supplies to help launch small-scale food production.
I do feel it takes community effort and involvement, time and investment. We are part of this solution, fielding much risk and forging forward. Bottom line, any efforts must be financially viable and sustaining.
I would like to request $2500 for a small, enclosed trailer.
Our farm truck needs retiring. It’s served us long and well. We’ve been absolutely pleased with it, in all ways, through all the years, except at the pump. Twelve miles per gallon does not work well in too many ways. Our fuel bill for transporting our farm goods to market weighs heavy on us. The poor mpg’s and emissions on all of us.
There is easy room for improvement here. Please, we need some financial aid to prioritize this now. Our farm’s greatest carbon footprint is actually off-farm, on the road to deliveries! Neither we nor our customers want it this way. So, a trailer! We will use the trailer only for deliveries – and we will pull it behind a vehicle getting at least twice the fuel efficiency.
Our farm goods will be just as protected from the elements, continuing to ensure the greatest freshness and quality possible. Our business fuel bill and footprint will easily halve. It’s so easy – if we receive the $2500 request for the trailer.
Financial viability and sustainability have been the largest challenge for our small organic farm. Minimizing our annual overhead, while still maintaining the highest quality farm goods moves us forward in this regard. Building this business in this region has taken lots of time, and requires diligence and perseverance year after year. We are taking on the risks. Many eyes are on us, and many eyes would like to see our success. Your financial aid could help us greatly in this.
We are a community-minded family and farm. We are more than willing to share our good fortunes. A trailer is very easy to share. We can either share delivery space easily, or share the trailer all together. One trip to town is better than three!
The carbon footprint is not as immediately obvious as a better bottom line. Though both matter greatly to us and our customers, to our surrounding community, and the wider world. This is a portion of farm sustainability which must be taken into full account.