Todd Ulizio is hoping Two Bear Farm’s new Whitefish storefront, The Farmer’s Stand, received’t be a tough promote.
On June 1, he and his native agriculture companions will open the brand new retail area at The Mountain Mall south of city. There, Two Bear Farm, Depraved Good Produce and different regional farmers will promote the fruits of their labor — plus greens, meat and dairy merchandise.
“It’s a small area with an enormous imaginative and prescient,” Ulizio stated.
That grand imaginative and prescient, in accordance with Ulizio, is to assist construct an agricultural motion that’s wholesome for farmers, customers and their setting.
The Farmer’s Stand can be a central retail location for an assortment of farmers. It’s designed to mix the comfort of a standard grocery retailer, the standard of a farmer’s market and the sustainability of a group supported agriculture program.
Farmers like Ulizio can have the chance to promote their merchandise on to prospects at The Farmer’s Stand, thereby avoiding the prices of a center man, whereas additionally facilitating a direct connection between meals and the individuals consuming it.
“It’s a singular strategy in that the farm retailer goes to be farmer-owned, so we’re the availability chain,” Ulizio stated.
THE FARMER’S Stand is the most recent effort by Ulizio — a farmer of 14 years — to enhance the Flathead Valley’s meals scene.
Ulizio received into the sphere as a result of he and his spouse, Rebecca, are keen about rising meals that is wholesome for the land and the individuals dwelling on it.
They partnered with native enterprise capitalist Michael Goguen to create Two Bear Farm. On their Whitefish property, they keep 13 acres of no-till crops and 6 excessive tunnels for planting seeds in the course of the harsh, chilly low season. This summer time, the natural farm, which has been licensed by the US Division of Agriculture, can have ten employees and two enthusiastic canine helpers, Henry and Willie.
Their produce — significantly their carrots — has already confirmed well-liked at farmer’s markets and thru Neighborhood Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares across the valley. And in accordance with Ulizio, the demand for top of the range produce has grown throughout COVID-19 pandemic, as individuals pay nearer consideration to their meals, its sources and its affect on their our bodies.
“Your meals has a narrative,” Ulizio stated, referencing the brand new retailer’s slogan. “If we are able to get individuals occupied with the story of the meals we’re promoting, possibly they begin to consider the story of the meals they discover elsewhere.”
With The Farmer’s Stand, Ulizio goals to develop that mindset whereas additionally rising spinach and bok choy. He’s hopeful the shop will assist educate customers concerning the individuals and locations their meals comes from.
ULIZIO ALSO intends to have The Farmer’s Stand function a gateway to elevating the subsequent technology of socially-conscious growers.
Two Bear Farm as soon as supplied an apprenticeship program to provide fledgling farmers the instruments to begin from scratch on an agriculture profession, however its current development made it too troublesome to maintain the tutorial aspect of the enterprise.
Ulizio wish to see The Farmer’s Stand take up that mantle as soon as once more by getting extra individuals inquisitive about agriculture.
However the pool from which to attract new farmers appears to be shrinking, and Ulizio worries whether or not it is going to be doable to fill these gaps – certainly one of a handful of challenges within the agriculture business he hopes to confront with The Farmer’s Stand.
Constructing a neighborhood meals community, for instance, is inherently troublesome when your group is located alongside latitude 48. The Two Bear Farm crew has devised loads of options, corresponding to protecting crops, to take care of the troublesome local weather, however these measures require further work.
“That’s the factor about farming in Montana that makes it so exhausting is you do all these further steps to tug off the vegetable crops,” Ulizio stated.
A number of the points Two Bear Farm faces aren’t as pure because the climate.
For instance, Ulizio has skilled resistance to modern enterprises like The Farmer’s Stand from each ends of the normal meals system.
On the one hand, he defined, there’s the prevailing provide chain, which tends to function round massive industrial farms and chain grocery shops, reasonably than native growers and farmer-owned shops. And alternatively, there’s reluctance from a inhabitants of customers that favor comfort and/or decrease costs over Two Bear Farm’s dietary and environmentally-friendly merchandise that always include a barely larger price ticket.
These circumstances make it exhausting for Ulizio to suppose too massive in terms of the affect The Farmer’s Stand may in the end obtain.
“We’re just one farm,” Ulizio identified. “…however you’ve received to begin someplace.”
Ulizio, naturally, is ranging from the bottom up.
Reporter Bret Anne Serbin could also be reached at (406)-758-4459 or email@example.com
— to dailyinterlake.com