Center for Rural Affairs project organizer, Kirstin Bailey, is featured in The 2018 Old Farmer’s Almanac. Bailey was contacted to take part in their “Special Report: Faces of Farming,” a compilation of input from farmers and growers throughout America.
The answers Bailey and her fellow farmers provided spoke to both changes underfoot and timeless traditions.
How or why did you become a farmer?
My mom has always had a large garden. We thought that together, we could make it into a CSA farm.
What is the hardest part of your job?
Relying on nature. There is so much at stake.
What is the best part of your job?
Connecting directly with our customers.
What is your favorite farming or gardening tradition?
We always plant our potatoes on Good Friday.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a farmer today?
Have a strong plan and a realistic budget. Be flexible.
What, in your opinion, is the future of farming?
Women-led, small-scale, sustainable farms.
Bailey is a member of the family-run farming operation, Fox Run Farms, in Brainard, Nebraska. The farm has been in the family for 118 years, and in 2010, they started a community-service agriculture program, or CSA.
“We wanted to ensure we had a crop that would sell, we wanted to connect with our community, and we wanted to promote naturally grown food,” Bailey said. “We met all of those goals and are now expanding.”
The farm also has a vineyard that is in its seventh year of production. Half of the vineyard is Brianna, a white grape, and the other half is Marquette, a red grape. They are slowly transitioning the vineyard to an orchard, and starting to look at producing value-added products they can produce.
The Bailey family welcomes visitors and encourage CSA members to visit to see who grows their food and where it comes from.
Pictured: Kirstin is picking up nets off of vines with her son and father.