Farmer Heroes | September 24, 2008

Susan Meredith & Brenna Chase

Brunswick, Maine

susan_meredith&brenna_chase-largeSusan Meredith and Brenna Chase run Little Creek Farm in Brunswick, Maine. They are members of the MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) Journeyperson program. MOFGA is a Farm Aid-funded group that connects farmers and gardeners interested in growing organic food together, for community, advice, and mentoring.

Susan Meredith and Brenna Chase of Little Creek Farm in Brunswick, Maine, are thrilled to be wrapping up their first year of farming.

The friends decided to start a sustainable livestock farm together last October, and found their land over the winter. Brenna was already living in Maine and managing a farm, and Susan moved to the east coast from Northern California to join her.

“I grew up eating virtually all home-grown food,” Brenna said, “and really have never strayed far. I became really interested in farming sustainably as a teenager. At that time I was very concerned with the damage humans are doing to the earth.”

Susan’s food awareness started a bit later in life, in her early twenties, when she started working on an organic farm in California. Eventually, the interest in farming and food awareness between the two friends (who met while attending Colorado College) led to the decision to start a farm together.

Little Creek Farm is in the busy town of Brunswick, home to Bowdoin College. Susan and Brenna lease about 30 acres, where they raise hogs, broiler chickens, laying hens, turkeys, and ducks, as well as grow flowers. They sell most of their pork and turkey through CSA subscriptions, and their mixed bouquets, chicken, and eggs via farmers markets.

Susan and Brenna say they could never consider doing work like this without treating the animals well.

“We have designed our systems to allow the animal to express as much of its natural behavior as possible,” Susan said, “and nothing brings a smile to our faces faster than to watch our layer hens rush out onto new grass, squawking and flapping, or see the social dynamics at work amongst our herd of pigs as they root and forage in the woods.”

Brenna has been part of the MOFGA Journeyperson’s program for two years, as long as she’s been farming in Maine. Susan applied for membership as soon as she moved to Maine last year. The two say that the program has been enormously helpful to them, welcoming them into the Maine farming community.

MOFGA emphasizes the importance of organic farming, and Susan and Brenna agree it is important. All of their plants are certified organic and they are working on the certification process for their organic and free range meat and eggs.

Today, Little Creek Farm has about 1000 broilers, 30 turkeys, 20 hogs, 200 laying hens, and half an acre of cut flowers. Next season, Susan and Brenna want to raise the numbers, and possibly get some beef cattle and lambs. Ultimately, they would also like to go into dairy production and start selling some cured meats, cheeses, and prepared foods.

Both women are excited about continuing to farm into the future.

“I understood that I could do work that I had loved since childhood,” Brenna said about her decision to start farming, “and also be contributing to something good and worthwhile for the world.”

Date: 9/24/2008

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