Farmer Profile for Leslie Salka

Co-Applicant / Spouse Name

Craig Romano

Please describe your past and/or present farming experience

Although most of my knowledge of farming is through small scale vegetable growing in my early years on Long Island NY with my sister, I am continually interested in learning and growing organics and heiloom varieties... she was testing methods for her homestead on 100 acres in Nova Scotia, Ive always loved my hands in soil, always eager to paw through seed catalogs in winter, see what we can grow, no matter where we lived. Through most of my adulthood I have maintained a personal organic garden (just under an acre) and have always been fascinated with biodynamic and other natural methods (companion planting, beneficial insects) using them with success. I enjoy flowers, herbs, heirloom varieties, dried florals...also have ten+ years experience in large-scale event design, installation direction/coordination in multiple major cities. Knowledge & selection of varieties of plants, creating unique florals within public gardens and conservatories, using appropriate woody ornamentals or tropicals. We own our own business but would like to merge & expand upon ideas that are best suited to larger agricultural locations with possibility of specialty events and seasonal celebrations. upscale, unique experiential adventures.

Are you currently farming?

No

Are you interested in connecting with other farmers to explore collocation or collaborative farm ideas?

Yes

Counties being considered

Addison
Chittenden
Essex
Lamoille
Rutland
Washington

What is the primary agricultural enterprise you are considering?

Herbs

What other enterprises are you considering?

Apple/Fruit
Berries
Flowers
Goats
Greenhouse
Herbs
Nursery
Ornamentals
Row Crops
Vegetables
Woodlot

Total Acres Desired

10.0

Tillable Acres

5.0

Forested Acres

5.0

Acres in Pasture

5.0

Organic

Yes

Farm Structures Needed

Barn(s)
Greenhouses
Other Housing
Shop
Storage

Farmhouse Needed

Doesn't matter

Equipment Needed

We own a small 46" tractor with attachments. Also a 21' travel trailer that we can reside in seasonally on site and perhaps make arrangements to winter over within barn or other out-building

Which of the following arrangements are you considering?

Apprentice with a Farm Owner for a Year or More
Farm Manager
Lease with Option to Buy
Long-Term Lease
Owner-Financed Sale
Partnership
Short-Term Lease
Standard Sale
Work to Own (Gradual Transfer of Responsibility & Farm Assets)

Have you been qualified by a lending institution? (if applicable)

No

Are you interested in conserved farms?

Yes

Do you have a business plan? Please write an informative description of your vision & goals for your farming future.

I am currently revising my business plan and will update. We have visited and vacationed throughout Vermont for decades and continue to vacation annually in Waitsfield. Impressed and thrilled that Vermont has largely remained unchanged, yet now at the fore of natural living..which is remarkable. It is tremendously important to me to be a part of preserving its simplicity yet continuing to educate, engage and grow a new generation of people who are invested in the land. I am interested in creating a farm related business that is multi faceted, varied income streams that can sustain and grow through enterprising and creative avenues featuring farm to table, seasonal offerings, partnering with other local artisans and businesses/local chefs for highlighting celebrated tastings/lessons. My early career in customer service for graphic arts and printing/publishing industry, then as operations and production manager in LI/Manhattan corporation; honed skills of details, diligence, planning, organizing chaos while constantly juggling priorities, crafting solutions for problems that arise in spite of all plans. Acquired skills, common sense, general optimism and cooperative nature has allowed me confidence to pursue my personal passions for gardening, woodworking/carpentry and eventually to self employment and a business partnership in bespoke decorative finishes (advanced training in Italy for authentic european lime and polished plasters, hand stenciling) in early 2000's. (Some of our work was in commercial restoration of facades, one for Macy's location at Burlington VT, 2006!) In late 2012, I was asked to step in as managing Director of a private company in the midwest specializing in event installations in public gardens and conservatories across the country. I manage all functions and installations with crew of 6-25 depending upon site. Comfortable with operating all aspects of operations, employees, excellent client service, marketing/sales, and creative aspects regarding plant selection, design. My husband of 25+ years has worked with me since our printing days, and he has excellent mechanical and electronic skills, enjoys troubleshooting and repair. Organized, hard working. I seek to have a lease or other mutual arrangement that allows me to operate a viable, thriving business to utilize all of my artistic talents and background, my love of gardening, floral arrangement and small scale farming with perhaps ability for seasonal/themed camping opportunities and/or other ways to engage interest in the area or farmstead (several seasons working with two major florists seasonally, I currently create custom wedding and event centerpieces, succulents) I can offer many other examples and links to my work, references, information; simply seeking the proper fit to flourish. It is imperative that we make our way to living our fullest life in Vermont, we belong there. I have envisioned living there, literally for more than thirty years. Our annual timeshare allows us to dream and explore each time we visit, but life is too short to merely dream, so, if not now... then when? so, we choose NOW to make this reality.