Beth Suedmeyer and Takashi Tada came to New Entry in 2009. With a background and passion for the environment and growing their own food, they wanted to explore what it would be like to farm for a career. In New Entry’s Farm Business Planning Class they learned how to write a crop plan, establish their markets, and project their farm financials. With their business plan in hand, they took to the New Entry’s training sites to learn to grow for commercial production and establish their farm business. In their first year they worked one-quarter acre of land, growing mixed vegetables and specializing in winter squash. Their second year they expanded to grow on one-half acre. At the end of their second year farming commercially, they discovered they would soon have a child and realized they needed to find farmland closer to home.
They worked with New Entry’s farmland matching service to explore the areas around where they live, Ayer. New Entry had recently worked with the town of Groton to help the agricultural commission map out their agricultural land, reach out to non-farming landowners, and educate the landowners about the benefits and logistics of leasing some of their land to a farmer. Through working with community members on the project in Groton, Becca Weaver, Farmland Matching Service Coordinator, connected with people at the Groton School who mentioned they would love to find space on one of their fields for a farmer to grow food. Becca connected the school with Beth and Takashi. Not only was the land close to the couple’s residence, but Beth has a background in environmental education and is eager to work with the school to help integrate the farm into their existing programming. It was a great match.
Before the 2012 growing season started, Beth and Takashi worked with the Groton School to make a land use agreement that worked for both parties. Becca was able to advise them on water issues, electricity issues, and other common farmland lease items, while Beth and Takashi worked hard to make sure it was an agreement that was going to work for them and their farm business. By May of 2012 the agreement was signed and Beth and Takashi went right to work breaking new ground- and bringing a new life into the world!
They spent the summer of 2012 exploring their new land and life as parents to their daughter Olivia. While they didn’t take full advantage of the acreage they are entitled to in the first year, they developed systems for weeding, harvesting, and pest prevention. They installed a solar-powered electric fence, shade shelter, equipment shed, and irrigation system. The school has been very generous in helping with primary tillage and large-machinery jobs. When the students return to school for the year they will explore what produce they can sell to the school’s dining hall. Beth, Takashi, and the Groton School are looking forward to more years working together and increasing agricultural production at the school.