Expanding Access to Local Meat with Wild Harmony Farm
Rachel Slattery and Ben Coerper are the owners of Wild Harmony Farm, a regenerative livestock farm in Exeter, Rhode Island. They started farming 12 years ago, when Ben began suffering from an undiagnosed illness related to food sensitivities. After gaining experience on farms around the world, they decided to start Wild Harmony Farm in 2013, focusing on raising pastured pork, cattle, and poultry.
“I’m so grateful to know that there are other people that care as much as we do about the success of small farms and a robust local food system.”
An unlikely outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic was that Ben and Rachel saw an increased demand for local meat. To meet this demand, they expanded their livestock herd onto a neighboring property. However, in order to maintain their regenerative practices on this new land, they needed to have easy access to a water source. Through funding provided by AFT’s New England Farmer Microgrants Program, they were able to install above-ground water lines throughout their
“With this funding, we were able to expand our beef cattle herd from 6 to 24, because we could add a new farm which tripled our total pasture acreage,” said Ben. “This year our herd will be 35 head, almost 6 times what we had before this grant.”
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. The funding could not have come at a more critical time for farmers in New England as they struggle with a changing marketplace, labor issues, and supply chain challenges considering the COVID-19 crisis.
Ben and Rachel hope to continue to expand their operation, focusing next on their poultry operation. Providing healthy, organic food to their community continues to be the guiding force behind their farming practices.
To learn more, visit: https://www.wildharmonyfarm.com