Connecticut is where young generations of farmers go to take root and grow.
With the help of grants from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture and local towns, young farmers across the state are establishing themselves. One such place is the Town of Farmington, touted as both historic and progressive.
“The Town of Farmington has a long history of supporting agriculture, and will continue to support local farmers in future generations,” Town Manager Kathleen Eagen says.
The town leases land to various farmers, including Sub Edge Farm operated by Rodger and Isabelle Phillips. Believers that good, fair, clean food should be available to all, they spent years gaining experience working on different farms before launching their farm-to-table business.
“We had managed farms for a number of years for others and very seriously set our sights on starting our own farm business,” Rodger Phillips says. “We had a good idea of the kind of enterprise we wanted to start, a place where we could both live and work along with our four children, growing clean, delicious food for our local community.”
After searching for land to call home, Rodger and Isabelle were selected to lease Town-owned land on the Fisher Farm property. Sub Edge Farm, which provides fresh, organic produce as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation, straddles land on the town line of Farmington and Avon, set on 289 acres in the heart of the Farmington River Valley.
In 2014, the Town of Farmington created a five-year capital improvement plan for Sub Edge Farm and continues to work with the Phillips family to prioritize infrastructure improvements.
One major project upgraded the vegetable barn, which was in desperate need of a new roof and exterior rehab. The vegetable barn houses the farm store, a cold storage area, as well as a wash and pack room. The work was possible thanks to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Farm Viability Grant.
“The recent grant that the town of Farmington received from the Connecticut Department of Agriculture for a new roof on the vegetable barn was huge for us,” Phillips says. “As a new farm business, this was a project that we probably would not have been able to do on our own.”