On Strong Ground – Our Trip to StrongHeart Farms
How this small farm is becoming more efficient, with a little help from our grant fund!
StrongHeart Farms is a vegetable farm and CSA program in Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota. The farmers Eleanor and Pearce, along with their baby Milo, grow on three-quarters of an acre at Big River Farms. We were fortunate to spend some time on their farm and observe the positive effects of the grant they received through River Market’s Growers, Grazers, Makers & Bakers fund.
Strongheart used their grant funding for the purchase of silage tarps to utilize soil solarization. The tarps will improve the quality of the soil by speeding up the breakdown of organic material in the soil, while reducing the presence of weeds along with the considerable time devoted to weeding by hand. By increasing efficiency, their goal is to produce even more food for their community. StrongHeart currently has a 50-family CSA program and sells their produce at the Stillwater Farmers’ Market every Saturday.
They have three hoop houses, thoughtfully planned with space utilized for maximum yield. A look down a long, low covered row reveals thriving plants. Tender, beautiful butter lettuces are nestled low against tomato plants and towering dill.
Eleanor and Pearce also hold the positions of Farm Caretaker and Operations Manager, respectively, at Big River Farms. Their commitment to living, working, and farming in the same space is an important part of cultivating and growing this great community organization. You can stay up to date with StrongHeart via their website and Instagram!
River Market Community Co-op created the Growers, Grazers, Makers & Bakers fund to continue our progress toward our ends: cultivating a healthy community through equitable economic relationships; positive environmental impacts and inclusive, socially responsible business practices. All funds go to farmers, producers, and processors to address specific needs. Funds for the grant program are generated through our Rounding Up program. You can read about our other grant recipients on our Latest News page.
About Big River Farms
Big River Farms is an incubator farm near Marine on St. Croix, MN. Farmers have access to land, farm resources, and education to build their businesses, learn, and grow sustainable, organic foods.