The Quick Pitch
Robinette Farms is small-scale family farm owned and operated by Chloe Diegel and Alex McKiernan. We grow food for nearly 200 families in our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, sell at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market, as well as at Open Harvest Coop Grocery. We produce a wide variety of vegetables without the use of artificial chemicals, raise grass fed lamb and pastured pork, and keep laying hens for eggs.
We work very hard to produce the best food we can, but we want to begin addressing the long-term sustainability of our farm and lifestyle, as well as attract more people to our farm to experience agriculture and rural communities.
This campaign is about improving the sustainability and increasing the outreach of our farm by adding draft horses!
So here's the deal: we buy the horses and harness; you fix the barn and buy the first round of equipment. In return, we've got lots of unique perks straight from the farm!
Our goal has always been to produce the highest quality food while reducing our impact on the environment and educating our community about food and farming. From our perspective, draft horses are an integral part of that vision and we need your help to get there!
The money raised in this campaign will go to two primary areas: renovating a small barn and outfitting our team of horses with equipment that will allow us to efficiently begin a transition to draft power. The total budget is $22,145 and it is detailed and prioritized below (each item includes a small amount for shipping).
Barn renovations, $2,200 materials, $2,800 labor: We need a place to feed, groom, and harness our team. We'll also store harnesses and other tack, feed, medical equipment/supplies and some tools here. We will repair the leaky roof, build a small tack room, enlarge the doors, and build tie stalls for the team. Costs are based on our contractors estimate.
Pioneer Forecart, $1,200: This allows us to use a variety of other equipment without hitching and unhitching the team constantly.
E-Z Trail Bio-plastic Mulch Layer, $2,800: Laying bio-plastic mulch (biodegradable plastic made from non-GMO corn starch) will decrease weed pressure and allow us to grow more veggies without filling the landfill.
- I&J Two-Row Cultivator, $2,500: Ruthlessly kills weeds.
- Pioneer 6-ton running gear with brakes, $2,500: We'll build the deck for the hayrack.This will allow us to haul hay, do larger chores/projects, and carry all you folks around the farm!
Shipshe Cultimulcher, $2,200: This will prep beds for planting our veggies.
- I&J Riding Cultivator, $750: Weeds walkways with one horse.
Pioneer Walking Plow, $750: The horse pulls it, we walk behind it: to open up fields planted to cover crop.
I&J Potato Plow, $450: Allows the horses to dig potatoes.
- Disk, $600: Preps soil and breaks down organic matter.
Cone Spreader, $1,200: Spreads seed for cover crop that builds our soil and provides pasture for our sheep, pigs and chickens to graze.
- I&J Walk Behind Cultivator, $395: More cultivating! Welcome to our world.
- Pioneer 3-ton running gear, $1,200: We'll build the deck. A smaller harvest/chore wagon that fits better in our fields.
Pioneer Stoneboat, $300: Gets smaller jobs done quick! Allows us to ride and haul things around the farm in a short amount of time.
If we don't reach our goal, barn repairs will happen first, followed by equipment purchases occurring roughly in the order listed. It is possible that our priorities may change if we don't have the full budget, but this list is the plan for now!
If we are successful, all barn repairs and equipment purchases will occur during late fall of 2013. If we are lucky enough to exceed our goal, we will likely begin the 2nd round of equipment purchases based around a ground-driven PTO forecart. Did you know that you can cut, rake and bale hay without using a drop of gasoline or diesel? You can also use a small rotary mower and potentially a rototiller for prepping fine seed beds! Check out the I&J Ground Drive PTO Forecart and prepare to join the ground-driven revolution!
We are so thankful for your support and want to bring the farm to you, so below is a list of our wide variety of unique perks straight from the farm to you!
- Thank you cards
- Discounts on our food at the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market
- Hayrack rides
- Robinette Farms T-Shirts and Tote Bags
- Discounts and memberships for our Community Supported Agriculture program
- Lifetime CSA memberships
- Half a hog raised just for you
- Private parties including hayrack rides, local beer or wine and farm snacks
- Farm meals for 10 prepared by a Lincoln Chef
- Draft horse, vegetable farming and pasture management clinics
Ripples in a Pond...
We feel very strongly about the potential for draft power in small-scale farming, and we know that it could make a significant positive impact on the environment both locally and globally.
Unfortunately, farming with horses has been relegated to agricultural nostalgia and most people assume that you need tractors or other heavy equipment in order to farm. Currently tractors and vehicles play important roles in our production, but we hope to be 100% draft powered within 5 years. We are realistic about the transition time required.
Learning the ropes with horses will certainly take patience and time, but we're confident that we can make it a reality. Alex has been farming full-time since Robinette was founded in 2010, and Chloe is in her 10th year growing vegetables and raising livestock on CSA farms. We lived on a partially draft-powered farm in Vermont for a season, we have taken draft horse workshops, worked with other draft horse owners and educated ourselves through reading -- now we're ready to take the plunge!
By contributing to this campaign you will help raise awareness about farming and the myriad ways food makes its way to your table.
This project aims to demonstrate that you can farm happily and profitably without the use of motorized equipment so that more people consider draft power on their farms. Our switch to 100% draft power won't happen overnight, but we know that with your help, all the training and planning will pay off and we'll begin our transition to draft power.
Other Ways to Help
We know that budgets are tight (hence the Indiegogo campaign...), so if you can't contribute financially, the best thing you can do is spread the word! Share this on Facebook, retweet as we publicize, email your friends and family, 'like' the things we post and generally be a cheerleader for the cause.
Finally, a special thank you to our friends and CSA members Jon, Alicia and Carrie from Bad State Productions who generously donated their time and energy to create our video. Their help has been indispensible!
Thanks!....Chloe & Alex