Farmer Profile for Megan Fuerst

Co-Applicant / Spouse Name

Caroline Gordon

Please describe your past and/or present farming experience

Most of Caroline's farming experience comes from Germany. Before coming to Vermont, Caroline participated in a four year apprenticeship program in biodynamic agriculture, where she completed a combination of academic and field work under the mentorship of biodynamic farmers in the Berlin area. She then worked on two diversified organic farms, including a sheep farm and an orchard, and managed her own vegetable garden for two seasons with sales at a farmers market in Berlin. Megan grew up on a horse farm, and volunteered on an organic farm in Petaluma, CA for three seasons while working in the Bay Area. Currently, Caroline and I manage the South Royalton Community Garden along with our friend Ellie. This past summer we implemented a new project in the community garden, where the unrented space is opened for truly communal, volunteer based gardening. Anyone is welcome to participate in the open gardening hours and take home a share of the harvest. In addition, we donated crop surpluses to the local food shelf every Thursday. We have attached the first annual report of this project as a document to this profile.

Are you currently farming?

No

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

Yes

Counties being considered

Orange
Windsor

What is the primary agricultural enterprise you are considering?

Vegetables

What other enterprises are you considering?

Apple/Fruit
Berries
Dairy (cows)
Flowers
Grains
Greenhouse
Hay/Forage
Herbs
Nursery
Pasture

Total Acres Desired

30.0

Forested Acres

5.0

Acres in Pasture

25.0

Organic

Yes

Farm Structures Needed

Barn(s)
Greenhouses
Shop
Storage

Farmhouse Needed

Yes

Equipment Needed

Caroline has the dream of working with multi-purpose animals, particularly the Red Milking Devon and the Altsteierer chicken. The Red Milking Devon is ideal because it can be used for dairy, beef, and as a draft animal, which we would like to pursue to avoid the use of fossil fuels. Thus, access to a draft plow would be a huge bonus! We currently have a small hand rototiller for the community garden that we manage, and would likely need something similar for the vegetable garden.

Which of the following arrangements are you considering?

Lease with Option to Buy
Owner-Financed Sale
Partnership
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.

Caroline and I aspire to join or build a regenerative farmstead that embodies all that we value – protecting old heritage breeds, using nature as medicine, nourishing the soil to grow the food that nourishes us, providing a safe haven for pollinator species, and so on. Caroline has the dream of working with multi-purpose animals, particularly the Red Milking Devon and the Altsteierer chicken. The Altsteierer is a chicken breed from the 13th century that is suitable for both eggs and meat, and they are also excellent foragers that can provide pest management and live independently of feed. The Devons would be used for dairy, beef, and as a draft animal, along with providing valuable compost. We would raise only two Red Milking Devon calves at a time, and would keep their trained mothers to work the land so that we could hay and cultivate without the use of fossil fuels. Megan is specifically passionate about wild edibles and honey bees, and would hope to integrate these lower-maintenance goods into the farm system. We would like to have at least 3 beehives on the farm. Of course, bees need food, so we would be interested in using permaculture principles (and state grant money) to establish a diverse hedgerow to promote an edible ecosystem that provides nectar and pollen to our bees. Megan is also an experienced mushroom forager, and would like to setup her own mushroom cultivation operation with the simple technology of inoculating logs with mycelium and spores. We already have a substantial supply of dried reishi, chaga, and birch polypore that could be powdered and turned into a medicinal tea or other product to sell in a farmstore. Inoculating logs would be for the more culinary species such as shitake, lions mane, oyster mushrooms, etc.

Upload Documents (e.g. business plan excerpts)