Daphne and Cameron Genter’s Story
Cameron and I met as apprentices on a small organic farm about 10 years ago. This was the beginning of our farming journey together. After completing the 2-year intensive apprenticeship and then a Journeyman’s position we were inspired and hooked on farming. We continued our education in organic agriculture with a cheese making internship and organic dairy work, as well as a variety of courses, workshops, and conferences. After 7 years of training and learning we settled our young family in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. We felt confident and ambitious to take the leap of purchasing a farm and putting our skills and knowledge to work.
With the help of a FSA loan we were able to purchase a 40-acre piece of farmland from retiring organic farmers in our community. The past few years we have worked diligently to build our farm from the ground up– everything from fencing and reseeding pasture, to building a house and livestock barns. Prairie Roots Community farm is a small, horse-powered, biodynamic, grass -based farm, utilizing solar and wind energy to run the farm. We graze a small herd of Milking Devon cows for beef and eventual farmstead cheese, and raise pastured pigs.
Grass is the foundation of our farm and as we move into our 3rd season we hope to continue to establish our grazing systems and improve and reseed some old fields that had been left fallow. We are requesting seed money of $2000 from Raising Organic Family Farms to help us purchase some desperately needed implements that will help with our fieldwork. We are looking at a rebuilt sickle bar mower($1200) to use for cutting hay and to clip pastures. Clipping our pastures regularly throughout the season will improve the forage and suppress the weeds, allowing our livestock to graze the paddocks more efficiently.
The other tool that we need for this coming season is a fore cart with a steering mechanism ($800), custom built by our Amish neighbors. The fore cart would attach to our grain drill, which we need to use for reseeding fields, and to our round bale mover, which is an integral tool on our farm for moving hay for winter time feeding.
We are committed to direct marketing our products. As farmers we value knowing the families we grow food for in our community, and the direct exchange between farmer and consumer ensures us a viable wage for our products. Direct marketing not only feeds people, it feeds the local economy as well. People want the direct connection to their food and welcome the opportunity to be active supporters of a small organic family farm. We encourage our local community to come out for a visit or connect with the farm via workshops and a variety of gatherings we host throughout the season. Getting people out on the farm meeting the animals, putting their hands in the soil, and experiencing the rhythms of daily farm life, we feel is just as important as providing them with good organic food. Prairie Roots Community Farm aims to serve our community with a bounty of nourishing food and as a place for social and spiritual connection with nature and the workings of the farm. We feed the belly and the soul.