Farm Incubator Experiment is Working for Abundant Fields Farm, Part 1

| 11/4/2015 10:06:00 AM

Tags: sustainable agriculture, beginning farmers, home based business, John Clark Vincent, Oregon,

Rick Reddaway

The recently developed incubator program at Headwaters Farm gives new farmers a four-year period to kick off their new farming career. The objective is to use these four years as a springboard to help them advance their agricultural business model. Rick Reddaway, owner of Abundant Fields Farm and member of the incubator’s inaugural class of 2013, is nearing the completion of his second year in the program. And according to Rick, the first two years flew by pretty fast. It is now occurring to him that his final two years will probably speed by as well.

He feels fortunate to have two years left to continue building his markets and to identify a property where he can keep his nascent operation growing. Change has been a constant for Rick and his wife, Heather, over the past several years. As such, this latest seismic shift should be something they can weather.

A little more than three years ago, Rick was working as a project manager for a manufacturing company. But even though his career was on the rise, his happiness wasn’t. He and Heather longed to return to a life outside the city, enjoying country life and gardening or farming… something similar to the way they both had grown up.

For Rick that childhood took place on fourteen acres in West Linn, Oregon. To his dad, it was a hobby farm, but to Rick, it was just a farm… the place where he first learned to garden and tend animals. Heather grew up in Sandy, not far to the east of where they live now at Headwaters. Her parents gardened on three acres there and still do.

Most likely, for both Heather and Rick it was the lifestyle they remembered best. Life in the country “digging in the dirt” is how Rick describes it. They wanted to give their new son a childhood like the one they both had, and every farmers market they walked through honed that desire more poignantly.

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