Farming matters on a Few Acres in Minnesota
Sarah Woutat, owns and operates Uproot Farm near Cambridge, Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a degree in English, she spent time in France and Spain working on organic farms. Just a few years ago Sarah worked at an environmental publishing business in New York City. While living on the east coast, Sarah developed an interest in sustainable food production. This led to an apprenticeship at Fort Hill Farm in Connecticut. It is here that she developed a love for farming. In September, 2010 Sarah took over ownership of what is now referred to as Uproot Farm.
Uproot Farm is a small vegetable farm just one hour north of the Twin Cities. This farm makes a living on five acres along with selling Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares to clients in Minneapolis and Cambridge, MN.
Shortly after Sarah began her farming business she stopped by the USDA Service Center in Cambridge to set up her farm records. She stopped by the NRCS field office to discuss her resource conservation concerns. Josh Bork, District Conservationist assisted her in developing a conservation plan.
Bork worked with her to address Uproot Farm’s resource concerns of plant condition; soil condition due to compaction and organic matter depletion. Upon completion of the conservation plan, Sarah became interested in signing up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
As a Beginning Farmer, EQIP made sense for Sarah to pursue. She received EQIP funding in 2011 for a Seasonal High Tunnel (SHT). By September, 2011 Sarah had constructed the SHT. Shortly after construction Sarah planted a crop of spinach. Her first crop yielded 126#. The following spring Sarah planted and harvested several vegetables including: Tomatoes, carrots, beets, spinach, salad mix and radishes.
“She was very happy with the spinach crop that she harvested in the Fall of 2011, just 2 months after the seasonal high tunnel was applied,” said Bork.
Another EQIP application was accepted in 2011 for a field border. In June, 2011 the field border was planted with the help of the Isanti Soil and Water Conservation District.
“Working with a beginning young farmer such as Sarah helped me learn more about the CSA operations and how it could fit into NRCS technical assistance and Programs,” said Bork.
She is grateful for being able to farm on a few acres in Minnesota and utilize the technical and financial assistance that is available through NRCS.
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