A year and half ago I had the opportunity to purchase a 19.1 acre farm in south Janesville at a farm auction. This was less than a year after my divorce and restart of a new chapter in my life. The farm was converted from a farm field over 40 years ago with sugar maple trees and an orchard but was left to decay over 10 years ago when the family moved their mother from the farm to Chicago. It went up for auction in 2021 during covid and although I spent more than expected, I was determined to save it from being bulldozed to make a salvage yard. Unfortunately, much of my capital went into the land purchase and subsequent improvements needed. I converted the garage into a barn to bring my rescue animals to the property, at another auction I bought a box truck for 10 cents to make a safe chicken coop for my hens and rooster, and have been working on renovating the farm house that sat vacant for 10 years.
There have been huge challenges, last year a crop duster fungicided the corn field near where I had been growing my shiitake mushroom logs, which destroyed all my fruiting mushroom logs and took away all my mushroom production income. However, I move my mushroom production to the new farm location and am restarting to grow my shiitake log inventory. Thanks to the vision of the previous family this property has 3,500 planted sugar maple trees, 60% of the trees are mature and ready to be tapped for maple syrup. I am planning to set up a commercial maple syrup operation to make the farm self-sustaining.
This property is so unique and I am so grateful that I was able to save it and really want to share it with a diverse group of people passionate about saving our planet. But in order to keep the farm and rescued farm animals and make a living on the farm I am asking for help to make this big dream a reality. The vision is to make this agroforestry property financially sustainable, organically certified, provide educational classes, tours and opportunities for people to connect with an agroforestry agricultural experience. I hope that everyone who comes to the farm will leave with a wonderful experience that provides knowledge, great memories and food that nourishes both their bodies and souls.