Joe grew up in Canton, New York where his parents had a small hobby farm with a large garden, goats, chickens, and pigs. He lived in the Canton area until 2014 when he moved to New Orleans to see what southern city life was all about. He’s always had an interest in bringing fresh, healthy, local food to his community, and has worked to do so in food cooperatives in northern New York and New Orleans. After meeting Kate in New Orleans, he worked on Frog Holler Farm in Brooklyn, MI for a summer and fell in love with raising vegetables for market.
Kate grew up in Troy, Michigan, surrounded by much of her extended family, and has always felt a strong pull to settle in Michigan and build a life here. After attending MSU she moved to New Orleans for an Americorps position. During her four years in New Orleans she volunteered at a community garden and found she had a passion for the work. She spent the summer of 2014 pursuing this passion through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), working at Earth Sky Time Farm in Manchester, Vermont, and returned to New Orleans knowing she had to continue farming the following year in a more formal, educational manner, preferably in Michigan.
Kate and Joe met working at the New Orleans Food Cooperative in late 2014, by which time Kate had already secured a job for the following summer at Hand Sown Farm in Manchester, Michigan. Joe found work at the neighboring Frog Holler Farm, and they began dreaming of one day having their own organic vegetable operation.
After spending 2015 on separate farms, they sought out apprenticeships together for the 2016 season, and found Evening Song Farm in Cuttingsville, Vermont. Over a year and a half at ESF they honed their farming skills through all four seasons, taking on responsibilities at each level of the business, and began seriously planning for their future farm. Kara and Ryan Fitzbeauchamp, ESF’s owners, provided invaluable opportunities, guidance, and mentorship which continues to this day, helping Kate and Joe develop their farming skills and ethic, and setting a clear example of how rewarding serving the community through farming can be.
Returning to Michigan in 2018 and starting Mighty Soil Farm through MSU’s incubator program in Chatham represents a jumping off point for Kate and Joe that they’ve been planning for and dreaming of for years, and they couldn’t be more excited to get their hands dirty and root themselves in the Upper Peninsula.