Julia and Todd met in 2002 around a barbecue in the backyard of a Chicago apartment. Todd revealed his “not very ambitious” desire to become an organic vegetable farmer. They married in 2007 and started Peasants’ Plot. Seven years later, the couple is living in a trailer outside of Manteno with 20 acres, chickens, a machine shed/woodworking shop, three high tunnels, two “guest trailers,” two tractors, a corn crib, a skateboard ramp, a massage practice, and a dog named Merle. They have realized that their dream to grow vegetables sustainably is possibly one of the most ambitious career goals around. Funded by their own savings, a farm mortgage, an FSA Loan, USDA Specialty Crop Grants, the Frontera Farmer Foundation and a Kickstarter, they have built up their farm slowly and steadily from 60 CSA members in 2009 to 250 members. Todd’s background in house-building, carpentry, woodworking, basic mechanics and organic gardening compliments Julia’s inclination towards marketing, outreach and farm advocacy. In addition to building their own business, Julia has been a leader in the Chicago CSA community, organizing annual events that help spread awareness about Community Supported Agriculture. They are committed to proving the viability of sustainable farming with the help of an equally committed community! Thanks to our sponsor, Bonnie Plants.
“A lot of CSAs are going to be like us in that they will have to approach non-traditional forms of funding. Many banks won’t look at these kind of business plans because they haven’t seen them before.” [12:00]
— Julia McDonald on Greenhorns Radio