Planning For The Future with Cloverleigh Farm
Susan Mitchell started her journey into agriculture as a public high school teacher in New York State, where she grew food with her students in the school’s garden. She quickly fell in love with the practice and left teaching to apprentice on a farm in the Hudson Valley. She managed farms throughout Connecticut before finding her own property in Columbia, CT.
Cloverleigh Farm operates as a certified organic CSA farm with a small wholesale business, focusing on connecting people to a place; “a place where you can talk to your farmer, a place where you can see a small farm operation in person,” says Susan. “A place where only fresh and flavorful produce is available, a place where you can meet your neighbors, a place you can feel comfortable bringing your children, a place where there is history and a place where a small business continues to grow through the support of the community.”
As with many farmers in New England—especially young farmers—Susan struggled to access a secure land tenure option. She leased land for many years, before finally deciding to start the process of purchasing the property she now farms. Mitchell applied for funds through AFT’s New England Farmer Microgrants Program to develop a strategic business plan with a bookkeeper and business consultant for the farm property she planned to purchase.
. The plan outlined future business growth, Pro-forma financials, and conservation easement opportunities. With help from AFT, Mitchell was able to purchase her property and plan for her farm’s future.
The New England Farmer Microgrants Program, launched by American Farmland Trust in 2020, provides farmers with cash grants to expand their farm production, address access to land, and create farm succession plans.
“It is so refreshing to be recognized by a national organization for the work I was doing and wanted to continue to be able to do,” said Susan. “There are times when farming is just so hard, and you need those cheerleaders in your corner to help you keep going. I am glad that AFT is in my corner.”
To learn more, visit: https://www.cloverleighfarm.com/