David Asmussen’s Story
Organic agriculture has perpetually inspired me through a combination of science and agrarian beauty. It began when I dug up the back yard in 4th grade to plant radishes, but when I found myself working at a tech job digging up the employee parking lot median to plant green beans, it dawned on me that this was my calling. After graduate school for plant and soil science, I pursued another patch of soil to dig up for agriculture, but now it was full acre in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Today, I am finally taking the full leap into farming with a CSA composed of friends and a small wholesale account. I look forward to developing my business, with the goals of cultivating community and preserving the agricultural landscape. The use of renewable resources has been a guiding principle for me, and I feel that organic farming is a long-term opportunity to make a living producing goods where solar energy, not petroleum fertilizer, is the primary input to the product.
I see farmers as the original scientists, whose laboratory is the working landscape that benefits the whole community through a rich environment and a supply of products vital to society.
The seed money for my farm will be used for a vegetable cooler. This is an important part of the farm because it will provide a space to maintain produce quality between harvest and market for products that need to be stored below “root cellar” temperatures. I will be using the proven low cost method of making a vegetable cooler that involves a super-insulated structure, combined with an intelligent electronic controller and a standard air conditioner. I will be balancing between using recycled materials to preserve resources, but also new, materials so that the cooler will have a long useful life. The cooler will be built on skids to allow it to move to different locations on the farm as the business develops.
CoolBot Brand Air Conditioner Controller $300.00
Recycled Rigid Foam Insulation $300.00
LG Brand 11,500 BTU Air Conditioner $528.00
Corrugated Metal Roofing $206.24
Recycled Insulated Door $75.00
Recycled Flooring $150.00
Interior Waterproof Wall $334.50
Skid Frame $75.88
Exterior Paint $30.00
Fasteners & Hardware $100.00
Total Grant Request: $2,496.80
Now that I am farming full time, I provide organic food just eight miles from the urban center of Portland, Maine, while preserving an agricultural landscape that could be irreversibly developed for housing. Prior to farming, I created the website 3VotesADay.org to reinforce the idea that communities need to support local farms. The website distributes my “Vote With Your Fork” sticker, and answers questions about where our food comes from. The simple message: “Vote With Your Fork” emphasizes that daily food choices make a big difference for local farms and has ripple effects around the world through environmental benefits and reduction in resource consumption. As a farmer, I now relate to that message more intimately as I strive to be a model small farm part of a locally based food system.
There used to be over 40 working farms in town, now there are around four. I am using a field that has not been in productive agriculture for nearly fifty years, but could easily be turned into private residences. By providing vegetables, herbs and eggs locally, people will see that these dormant fields are not just an easy development opportunity, but a working landscape integral to the community.