Updated: Jan 8
A new adventure can feel overwhelming or exhausting. It can also feel exciting and full of possibilities. Most of the time, it’s both. Fifth Acre Farms is a culmination of hard lessons learned and a down right deep desire to give back to the planet. It’s my newest, big adventure and it almost didn’t happen.
Last year, I was contacted by an agritourism venue about an available horticulture position and I was very close to ignoring it. At that time, I had only ever grown food and flowers on a very small scale and all of the sudden I was being asked to start an agriculture department within a management role. It seemed nuts. So I did what any millennial with mild anxiety would do - I convinced myself that they were over estimating my capabilities and that I had no business taking the job. I have a degree in graphic design and over a decade of experience in that field. My resume has nothing to do with agriculture and it felt safe to stay in my lane. It was my husband who urged me to take the meeting. He said at least I’d get lunch out of it, what could it hurt? He was right. I took the meeting (thank god for smart partners).
That new job was like a dream. But I felt under-qualified when I accepted it and again every time my boss asked me something like “now, what type of lily is this?”. I was surprised by every single success and every pound of produce harvested felt a lot like luck. But I carried on. I hired an employee by late spring and before I knew it, we had built something beautiful. We learned, together, that “sensation” cosmos don’t bloom until late summer and that banana peppers don’t sell that well on a farm stand. We learned that where there are three squash bugs, there are a hundred hidden eggs and that deer will take one bite out of every pumpkin, just to taste test them all. I even, eventually, learned the difference between a torch lily and a day lily. In fact, with each passing week, I couldn’t believe the information I was picking up and retaining. By the end of the season, I could walk the property and identify all the wild natives at the edge of the forest. I knew exactly how to create new, no-till beds and I had even led several workshops in the garden. Somewhere along the way, I stopped asking myself if I was qualified and gave myself permission to lean in. My hands were in the soil and we were growing something good. I realized that as long as it was my intention to honor the earth, it didn’t matter what my resume looked like. And so the match was lit. If I could feel under qualified and still succeed at this, what else could I approach with the same attitude?
The story of Fifth Acre Farms has to start with a story about being under qualified because it’s literally in our name. We started this farm in our back yard, on one fifth of an acre. As far as farms go, it doesn’t get more under qualified than that. But if I’ve learned one thing in life it’s this - if I shy away from every opportunity that feels too big or scary, I can not thrive (and my will to thrive is strong).
Fifth Acre Farms is a love letter to the earth. It’s about producing high quality, regeneratively grown food in a way that honors the planet. The only qualification for a Fifth Acre farmer is a desire to do good and we’ve got that in spades. So we don’t own our own heavy machinery or 20 acres of land. We don’t come from a long line of farmers and we don’t have two decades of growing experience. So what? This venture started with a deep understanding that being brave is not about being fearless but about being scared and doing it anyway. So here’s to bravery and under qualification. To leaning in to the things that seem impossible. And to celebrating this big, beautiful planet. Welcome to Fifth Acre Farms. I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned!