The desire to farm is powerful—sparked by love of food, the land, just living, community, entrepreneurship and more. But it is a complicated undertaking, and the list of questions is long.
If you are dreaming of farming and puzzled about how to get started, our Farm Dreams Workshop is for you!
Farm Dreams is online, and enrollment is free. We will hold Farm Dreams again in Fall 2021.
You’ll start by watching our Farm Dreams video, complete the Farming Readiness Assessment, and put your farm dream on paper. Join other farm dreamers online for Farm Dreams Part A. Together we’ll discuss goal setting, and you’ll meet a farmer who is living her farm dream. We’ll reconvene a week later for Part B. You’ll meet more ND farmers who will discuss the successes and challenges of living their farm dreams. We’ll also connect you with resources so you can get started.
Farm Dreams is a steppingstone to enrollment in our full Farm Beginnings farm business planning course which will runs during the winter.
These Farmers are Living Their Farm Dreams
Meadowlark Granary, Bottineau, ND
Meadowlark Granary is a homebased milling and bakery business. I use the wheat and flax from my family’s farm near Drake to produce whole wheat flour, baking mixes, breads and baked goods.
Hiddendale Farm, Turtle Lake, ND
Hiddendale Farm is a fourth generation family farm in central North Dakota that produces a wide variety of specialty crops, certified organic vegetable and flower seeds, and certified organic CBG hemp. Cattle graze the pastures during the summer and provide high quality grass fed meat.
Adam and Apryl Mawby
gardendwellers RANCH, Bottineau, ND
Adam started gardendwellers RANCH raising Katahdin sheep and meat chickens on pasture. With over a decade of farming experience, Apryl joined Adam at gardendwellers RANCH as a wife and business partner in 2020. With our shared livestock and poultry knowledge, ambition, and passion, we hope to expand our operation each year.
Family Roots Farm, Christine, ND
We believe good food starts with how it’s grown. We keep in touch with our family roots by planting heirloom varieties, processing food with farm-grown ingredients, and raising animals with respect. We offer produce, fresh herbs, raw honey, eggs, jam, pickled produce, chicken, lamb, and pork.
Five Penny Outfit, Kief, ND
Raylene Nickel raises grass-fed cattle and goats and cares for land and soil on her farm near Kief, North Dakota. A professional agricultural journalist, she contributes regularly to Successful Farming magazine. She has authored two memoirs: A Prayer for the Prairie and Forever Hopeful.
Holly Rose Mawby
gardendwellers FARM, Esmond, ND
gardendwellers FARM has been North Dakota’s only herb farm since 2002, with a mission to make sure customers ‘Live Life Well Seasoned”. The farm has offered classes and on farm events, and sold fresh herbs to grocery stores, restaurants, and direct to consumer. The farm now sells freeze dried herbs online, at the farm, or in select stores.
Amber and Ross Lockhart
Heart and Soil Farm, Grandin, ND
Amber and Ross Lockhart run Heart and Soil Farm, a small, sustainably-minded farm in the Red River Valley. They sell vegetables and eggs through farmers markets and wholesale, and offered a CSA until 2020. The farmers are dedicated to working with others to promote research and small-scale agriculture in ND.
Farm Dreams Homework
If you prefer to do the assignments on paper, click here to print them.
Exercise 1: Document Your Farm Dream
Before attending a Farm Dreams Workshop, dedicate time to imagine and document your farm dream as if it’s 5 to 10 years from now.
An ideal form of documentation is something you can keep for a long time: a napkin sketch, handwritten lists assembled on a page, a vision board with magazine cut-outs pasted to tag board, a drawing or painting, a form of narration. The form doesn’t matter, so long it’s something you can keep and look back on in 2- or 10-years’ time.
After using the following prompts to think about and document your farm dream, draft a short, 3-5 sentences, which you can share during the Farm Dreams workshop.
Imagine the physical place that occupies your farm dream.
Consider: Where is your farm? How much land does your farm need? What kinds of spaces? Are there buildings or other facilities? Like a barn, greenhouse, or fencing? What storage do you have for tools, equipment, and supplies? Do you have special equipment? Are you using draft animals? Where does your water come from? Do you source fertility/compost?
Visualize all that your dream farm produces.
Consider: What do you produce—vegetables, fruits, livestock, fiber, flowers? Do you start your own seeds or purchase seedlings? Do you have a processing facility with cold storage or a certified commercial kitchen for producing prepared milk, cheese, honey, meats, herbs, or other value-added products?
Think about your farm dream customers.
Consider: Who are your customers and what are they like? Where does your produce go? Is it sold to market and what kind of market—a farmer’s market, grocery store, wholesale, restaurants, direct to consumer? Do you give some of your produce away? To whom and how? How close is your farm to other people, community and/or market? How do transport things from the farm to the market?
Vision your farm dream lifestyle.
Consider: How does it feel to be on your farm at different times of day and in different seasons? What does a day look like in your farm dream? Who is involved in your farm dream? What kinds of challenges are you excited to face?
Exercise 2: Farming Readiness Assessment