For the Fleischers, what began as a summer habit bloomed into a passion and a business. The Fleischer Family Farm allows husband and wife team Paul and Chelsie to teach their children about how to care for the earth and where food should come from. It also provides a welcome platform for building community and pursuing food justice in the most tangible way possible: growing healthy and locally accessible produce. The Fleischers are active members of Sustainable Southern Gables, a county-supported program that brings together community members to brainstorm sustainable practices and put them into action. Each year they also look forward to donating seeds to an annual seed swap held at the local elementary school. Becoming full-time business owners and farmers has long been a dream of Paul’s. Now the Fleischer’s are making that dream a reality.
Reason for Loan
Paul and Chelsie were previously farming on less than half an acre. As their farm business gained momentum and demand for their produce increased, they needed to expand in order to provide for a much larger community. With a Steward loan, they were able to purchase an additional 1.1 acres and invest in the infrastructure needed to maximize this new land acquisition, which effectively tripled the size of their operation.
As their business continues to grow, they intend to establish a community network which will allow neighbors and friends to take an active role in their own food production. “We want to bring our culture away from mono-cropping, environmental degradation, and a corporate and business-centered industry,” Chelsie explains. “Organically-grown, healthy food should be affordable and attainable for all, not just the wealthy or otherwise advantaged, so we do our best to make our products less pricey and more personal.” Over the next few years they will focus on establishing themselves on the new land: building a larger chicken coop, wash and pack station, walk-in cooler, raised beds and rows, acquiring more beehives, planting perennial flowers, building a farm stand, and making water and electrical connections. Long-term they plan to build more relationships with fellow farms, and expand community-centered opportunities like classes, children’s camps, and farm-to-table agri-tourism events.