Country View: Kate Edwards - Farmer Kate
Radio interview source: Kate Edwards, Owner, Wild Woods Farm
Every year on the 4th of July, Kate Edwards takes a picture with her grandpa in his cornfield. It's a family tradition, and it sparked her interest in farming when she was 8-years old. Even though Kate got an engineering degree, she felt the land tugging on her, so she sought out mentors and others who would help her get started on her dream.
In 2010, Kate rented one-acre of land from a family friend in Solon, Iowa, and launched a vegetable farming operation called Wild Woods Farm. "I was originally going to have a farm stand and it fell through, and I was like, oh no, I've got to find a way to sell this stuff," Kate says. "So I really scurried quickly and I ended up starting a CSA for 11 members. By mid-season I realized I had way too much produce for just those 11 people so I grew to 18 members. And then this past year I did a 32-member CSA and I had enough productivity that I probably could have done 40 CSA members."
Kate chose to raise vegetables organically due to the low input costs. But she knows the hard work she'll face. Her grandparents farmed and kept their farm through the stressful farm crisis of the 1980s. Even though this happened before she was born, Kate says it has made her even more determined to see her dream through. And her grandparents are right there beside her.
"My grandparents are very much involved in what I do, they come down and visit me and give me advice," says Kate. "One of my proudest moments my first year of farming was when my grandma wrote on my Facebook wall and said, 'you've done more gardening in one year than I did in 50-years.' So it's just really fun to have that generational support."
Kate has been so successful that she's already tilled more land. Her goal is to eventually grow her business to a 160-acre diversified farm.
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