Every month, the Vermont Family Farmer of the Month Award grants between $10,000 and $12,000 to exemplary farms across the state that contribute to a more resilient agricultural landscape and demonstrate environmental stewardship through their sustainable practices and supports an innovative project that will improve the farm's viability. Check out the most recent awardees below!
Congratulations to Northwind Farm, Valley Dream Farm, and Understory Farm for your incredible environmental stewardship and work to create a more resilient farm and food system in Vermont.
Applications for the Vermont Family Farmer of the Month are open three times a year. Applications for November, December, January, and February awards close September 27th. Applications for spring awards will open in December and are due by the end of January. To learn more, visit www.vermontfamilyfarmeraward.org.
Northwind Farm - May Awardee
Emery and Geordie Lynd started Northwind Farm 12 years ago on the hillsides of Cabot, Vermont with a passion for tending to land and caring for their cows and pigs. In everything Emery and Geordie do on their farm, they strive to maximize the positive effects farming can have on the land. For this reason, their intensively managed, rotational grazing system is at the center of their operation.
Northwind Farm was awarded $12,000 in May to construct an addition onto their main barn, connecting the farm’s extensive pasture lane system with their livestock housing and milking facilities. With this new system, the cows will be able to choose to go to pasture as they leave the milking parlor instead of waiting for the whole herd to finish and go to pasture as a group. This means the cows will spend significantly more time grazing and spreading their own manure on the pastures.
Valley Dream Farm - June Awardee
Valley Dream Farm is home to three generations who collectively care for the land in Cambridge, Vermont. Anne and Joseph Tisbert own and manage the farm while three of their four children and their families are integrated either in Valley Dream Farm directly or have their own farm enterprises on the land. Valley Dream Farm grows plant starts and vegetables and hosts farm dinners.
Valley Dream Farm was awarded $12,000 in June to install a septic system for their soon to be on-farm certified kitchen. The certified kitchen will be a space for Valley Dream Farm to process value-added products, provide space for community members to rent, and will support the farm’s ability to expand their Farm to Table dinners. Completion of this project will support current and future agricultural successes and further actualize Anne and Joe’s original vision of deepening the interconnectedness of land, animals, and people while building up Vermont’s agricultural community.
Understory Farm - July Awardee
In 2014, when Jessie and Gregory Witscher started Understory Farm, they sold pork and vegetables at their farm stand and local farmers market. At that time, Jessie brought bouquets of cut flowers from her garden to their market stands, which quickly attracted their customers' interest. Driven by popular demand, Jessie and Gregory have since focused their farming efforts on growing flowers using organic practices.
Understory Farm was awarded $12,000 in July to install an irrigation system by restoring an existing pond and upgrading to a solar water pump. Currently, Understory Farm isn’t able to reliably irrigate as much as they need to in order to meet their production and sales goals due an outdated farm well for field irrigation and the cost of using municipal water in their high tunnels. Completing this project will create security for business growth and improve their work-life balance so they can spend less time problem solving current water issues and moving irrigation lines, and more time doing what they love—bringing joy and beauty to their community, growing their local economy, and working with the land.