Practicing Agriculture and Building Community at Fiddlehead Farm, Part 1

| 1/20/2015 2:01:00 PM

Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement spotlights 18 Oregon farms and farm supporters who are committed to a return to ecologically sound agricultural practices. This group reflects the diversity of people, both young and old, who are reshaping our state’s food system and reclaiming our right to eat well. In their stories you will hear how they came to be where they are, learn something about the challenges they face, and share their happiness at the successes they’ve enjoyed thus far. The following profile has been excerpted from Planting A Future.

Rowan Steele and Katie Coppoletta of Fiddlehead Farm

Rowan Steele is self-possessed and confident. Quick to smile. There’s a natural energy in the way he moves around his farm, sharing his crop rotation strategy, pointing out the worst erosion spots and explaining how they were solved… if they were solved… the coming rains will provide that bit of wisdom. But he believes his new drainage system will work, and I do, too. Because it’s hard to not have faith in this young man.

Katie Coppoletta is solid. Grounded. Maybe a little cautious at first, but you can watch the trust settle in and her easy country manner take over. She’s not a dreamer in the same way Rowan is but she knows what she wants and she’s willing to put in the work. And anyone who’s spent much time on a farm would swear she was born to it. That’s not the case. Not for either of them.

But when Rowan and Katie first began experimenting with agriculture, both immediately felt drawn to it, although they’ll be the first to admit they had no idea what it would take or how far they would need to journey to become real farmers.

Farming is a profession, after all. And, like any profession, one does not rise to proficiency – much less mastery – without years of training, practice, and getting up every morning and going to work. That’s what Rowan and Katie have given to farming. In return they have received a way of living that suits them perfectly. But is it a lifestyle they would recommend to others?

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