Grit Blogs > Sprouts - Stories from a Young Farmer

Farm School: It's Over, and Now It's Time to Start a Business

A photo of Alison Spaude-Filipczak with a farm shareHooray for Spring!

Sunshine. Long days. Another growing season right around the corner. Yahoo!

The last six months have flown by.  Here is a brief update of what Alan and I have been up to.

November: Alan and I graduate from the Greenbank Farm Training Center on Whidbey Island in Washington State.  We leave with a business plan in hand and as much smarter farmers and gardeners then when we started.  It was eight-months well spent.

December:  We settle in northern Wisconsin along the south shore of Lake Superior. We moved to the town of Washburn, population 2200, and are renting a house that is near Alan’s family. We have intentions to start a business in 2011.

January: Alan and I are both employed! Alan, a man who loves vegetables, is working in produce department at the Chequamegon Food Cooperative, and I have several positions working with youth in the community.  We settle into the idea that we will not become land owners this year, and we look into options for farming this growing season.

February and March:  High Five Produce LLC is formed.   Alan and I are starting our very small business.  We intend to grow and sell vegetables to our local community at a market stand every Friday from the June trough October. Much of our free time is spent doodling in notebooks, paging through farm supply and seed catalogues, and creating a crop plan and business goals.  We have also networked with other farmers in the area and have taken part in Lake Superior Farm Beginnings, a program sponsored by the Land Stewardship Project.

April: Wow! April is here. The snow is almost gone. Our onion and leek starts are getting tall.  Alan is enjoying taking notes on the germination success of different varieties of lettuces—we are growing 21 varieties this year! Our to-do list is getting long, and we are digging up our front yard, one of three places we will be growing this summer.

My hibernation from the blog world is over.  New this year, my husband Alan will be joining the blog.  We hope to keep you all up to date with news from our small farm business and garden life on a weekly basis.

Stay posted for future blog entries on the following topics:

  • On starting an LLC
  • Conducting your own variety trail
  • Tool review of the Vashon Broad fork
  • Our experience making our Wizbang Wheel hoe
  • And many more exciting farm topics

Happy seed starting everyone!

Alison and Alan Spaude-Filipczak 

6/4/2011 8:05:22 PM

Hi Alison: I just read your article in the latest issue, I have a million questions to ask you about this process. I'm interested, do you know if similar opportunities in other states? I'm getting my Master's in Biz Administration but I want to get more of a background in farming. My undergrad was in Animal Sciences, Equine Industry. But now, I would like to go into agribusiness more. Please email me: My Twitter: EquineValentina Thanks!

5/24/2011 9:12:27 AM

Alison and Alan - read your article yesterday in Grit and am looking forward to following your farming progress on your blog! My husband and I are also growing our farm and working to expand our business. Hoping to sell at more farmers markets this year and have dreams to launch a CSA in the near future. Good luck with your endeavors!

nebraska dave
4/18/2011 7:43:23 PM

Alison and Alan, I was wondering if you would continue to blog for Grit when you completed your school. I for one am glad to see that you will continue to blog about your adventures in small business farming. You are well armed with information to be a success at planning, growing, and selling. I will be waiting to hear about your many successes this year. It will be good to hear from Alan as well. I chuckled at you digging up your front yard for vegetable growing. I'm sure you just couldn't get by without growing something somewhere. You probably already know about community gardening and have looked into it. The community gardens here in my city are mostly run by churches on their spare properties. Perhaps that could expand your need to grow for this year. Good luck with all your growing endeavors this year and have a great spring gardening day.