Nic Welty employs himself full time year-round raising lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens in three low-cost passive solar greenhouses, which together cover less than one acre of land.
His Nine Bean Rows farm near Traverse City, MI, is one of many smaller, diversified, often first-generation farms in the country that defy expectations, particularly among bankers and others with money needed to finance the new food enterprises.
Most find it difficult to pencil out the possibility that such a niche farm business could reliably make enough money to grow. Yet as Welty explains, “This business is good enough to take a cash advance on a credit card and run with it.”
The fact that many smaller niche farmers must do just that is alarming to a growing group of activist lenders and small farm business advisors. They say it’s high time to line up resources behind the nation’s new farm entrepreneurs and the new jobs, food supply, and local commerce they are building. Read more