Addison Wagner

Farming Experience

Farming experience

6-10 years of experience

Type of farming experience

  • Worked on a farm
  • Farm management experience

Description of farming experience

I moved from Colorado to Maine in June of 2020 to pursue farming as my primary career. I had worked part-time on farms in Boulder and Ohio and had done a few months of WWOOFING in Greece, but wanted to take the plunge farming full-time in a place with an amazing network of organic farmers. I've been happily working at Whatley Farm since moving here, in addition to some part-time work at Wolfe's Neck in 2020 and a winter/spring stint at Stonecipher Farm in 2020-2021).

I'm now entering my fifth season farming with the Whatleys full-time. Working on their farm year-round has been a tremendous learning experience for me, with the added benefits of getting to know the people and participate in the farm business's growth and improvement over the years. I work with a small and tight-knit crew, and have experience jumping into most jobs on the farm including harvest, wash/pack, market, seedling start-up, direct seeding and transplanting, cultivation and other field tasks. While we all move between roles somewhat freely, I am currently the Field Manager at the farm and take the lead on turning over, preparing and maintaining our low-till permanent beds, as well as other tasks related to managing weeds, building soil health and improving the farm's systems around various field tasks.

Name of your farming operation or where you are currently farming

Field Manager at Whatley Farm

Farming Plans

State(s) of interest

  • Maine

Location details

I currently live in Portland and am looking for land nearby in Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York counties.

Minimum acreage desired

1

Maximum acreage desired

2

Arrangements desired

  • Lease
  • Lease-to-own
  • Something else

Arrangement description

I am primarily looking for a short-term lease, but given the right circumstances would be open to a lease-to-own agreement or a joint venture with an eventual sale.

Planned farming practices

  • Certified organic
  • Not certified, but follow organic practices
  • Sustainable/regenerative

Farming practices description

My interest in farming has been primarily driven by a desire to learn about and build sustainable, regenerative systems into the work of growing food. Soil health will always be at the center of my farming practice, so I plan on using organic, no-till methods with the eventual goal of getting an organic certification.

Planned farming enterprises

  • Vegetables

Farming enterprises description

I am looking to lease land to begin an intensive 1/2 acre, no-till vegetable farm, growing nutrient-dense produce for a small 35 member Vegetable & Print CSA, imagined in collaboration with my partner and artist Ana Inciardi, who owns her own successful printmaking business in Portland, Maine. During the 24-week season, CSA members will receive 6-8 seasonal vegetables each week alongside a handmade print based on the contents of that week's share.

Infrastructure needed

  • Farm buildings

Description of infrastructure needed

Unless provided through the lease, I'll need to install some infrastructure including a small cat tunnel or bobcat to start seedlings in, some additional covered space for storage and wash/pack, an 8' by 20' insulated shipping container to modify into a walk-in cooler and possibly a deer fence depending on the area.

Business plan or business concept

Business planning description

I've recently completed the UMaine Cooperative Extension Business Planning for Producers course and have attached the current iteration of my business plan below. The plan (and the farm name) is a work in progress and will likely undergo some changes in the coming months as we continue our land search.

Additional Information

Crowded Table Farm is a small farm focused on growing mixed organic vegetables for a 35 member Vegetable & Print CSA in Portland, Maine. We are committed to using no-till, human-scaled growing practices that build soil health, sequester carbon and increase biodiversity on the land that we steward. In our first year, we plan on using regenerative practices to grow around 30 different vegetable and herb crops on just under a 1/2 an acre of leased land. CSA members will receive 24 weekly shares during the season, with 6-8 seasonal vegetables and one handmade print in each share. The Vegetable & Print CSA is a collaboration with my partner Ana Inciardi, who owns her own successful printmaking business, Inciardi Prints LLC in Portland, Maine. She will be carving and printing the exclusive prints for the first three weeks worth of shares of every month. We will be featuring the work of another rotating local printmaker on the fourth week of each month. 

The other important vision for the Crowded Table Farm Vegetable & Print CSA is its community-supported food and art access fund inspired by the work of Rock Steady Farm in Hudson Valley, New York. It is a personal goal to make a percentage of the CSA shares available at no-cost to low-income members of the Portland community. While we recognize that this does not get at the root of the countless systemic inequities that make fresh, organic produce primarily accessible and affordable to people who are wealthy and often white, we feel that this food access fund is something small we can do in the short-term for people who want fresh produce yet do not have the means to purchase it. And although art exists in a different tier of "usefulness", we believe that having access to art has the potential to heal and inspire, feeding us in more intangible ways. 

When it comes time to market our CSA, we plan on putting out a call for applicants for these no-cost shares in different pockets of the Portland community. The funding for these no-cost shares will come from monthly on-farm events offered to all members of the CSA on a sliding-scale, pay-what-you-can basis. Depending on the outcome of our first season, I hope to gradually scale our CSA membership up, increasing the number of shares by about 65% each year. Additionally, I would like to supplement our CSA revenue with a handful of local wholesale accounts as I gain confidence as a grower. My ultimate goal with the farm is to remain under 2 acres, and gain yields through efficient, lean practices rather than by increasing our amount of growing space.

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