Little Bridge Farm
Summary: Jonathan Ault is a 27-year-old new farmer in Dresden, Maine. He and his partner, Kate Harris, will be breaking ground spring 2013 for their first season as Little Bridge Farm. They are a lucky breed of new farmers leasing land from an established farm. In doing such, they are benefiting from the brand name and existing market of Bridge Farm. This arrangement provides Ault and Harris with affordable land to rent, on-farm housing, and an established farm infrastructure and equipment. Bridge Farm is up for sale making the arrangement a unique one. Harris and Ault have no control over the relationship with their future landowners but intend to display their commitment to the land through the hard work, money, and heart they are investing.
Jonathan and Kate are leasing 1.5 acres from the 5 acre farm. They are starting out with a small 20-member vegetable CSA and will plan to additionally focus on produce for the on-site farm store. They will have pastured pigs and poultry products including broilers, laying hens, and turkeys. Kate will maintain an off-farm job as a supplement to the partners’ income. In order to get the farm off the ground, Jon has deferred his student loans to have the operating startup income required for the farm. They have little access to credit and are not interested in taking on hefty debt for the farm. Their goals are therefore modest and yet ambitious. They intend to start small to establish themselves while investing into their soil and community simultaneously.
History: Dissatisfied in his previous corporate finance profession in Pittsburgh, Jonathan came to farming as a Maine Organic Farmers and Growers’ Association (MOFGA) apprentice. Jonathan fell in love with farming and with Maine. He went on to manage the same farm he apprenticed at and met his future farming partner, Kate Harris. Ault soon was chosen to be a MOFGA Journeyperson, a position that assigned him a farmer mentor and affords him educational resources and opportunities. Having come to farming with no experience, the journeyperson program has been an invaluable asset to his farming pursuits. Harris and Ault decided to farm together and from that point, their land search was challenging. The pair was fortunate to find solace in a community that embraced and fostered their pursuits; finding temporary housing and ultimately harnessing their network to find a land-use agreement that works for them.