Flannel Farms, Compost, and Summer Goals

Its the last week of my Junior year at Brown, all my classes are pretty much done. Just hanging around to work a few more dining shifts and attend a class presentation. Then its back home to Youngstown to try my hand at farming for the summer. Along with my good friend, Derek, we are starting Flannel Farms, LLC.

We are planting a few crops on a vacant lot near St. Dominic’s Church between Market and Southern Blvd. The church is doing a lot of great work to clean up the neighborhood so Doug, my old landscaping manager and friend who is always full of great ideas, recommended working with them. I spoke with Father Maturi on the phone and he seems like a passionate leader with great ideas. I look forward to building our relationship in the neighborhood.

Most of our work this summer is going to take place on a few acres at my Grandpa’s farm. We ideally wanted to be in the city (and hopefully will be in the future), but City Hall isn’t selling any land currently because of the natural gas speculation. After I went and discussed my plan with them, they were very helpful and basically said nothing was stopping up from using any tax delinquent land in the city. Because of this, we know that any work we do is on property that doesn’t belong to us, so I’m hesitant to put in too much time or money.

Out at our country farm site, we’re planting around forty different seeds (which I will discuss as we plant and then harvest), raising a few dozen chickens for meat (potentially for an end of the summer BBQ harvest party, and composting for high quality soil in the future. I’ve been asking around for horse manure and spoiled hay, but to add nutrients and divert food from the local waste stream, I’m going to try to regularly pick up unsellable produce from grocery stores and food waste from local restaurants. Growing power in Milwaukee collects 80,000 pounds of food waste per week to compost, then sell the compost for $85 per yard. Talk about a good business model.

Goals for the Summer

On top of growing vegetables, raising chickens, and composting, I have a few goals that I want to work on in my spare time. This list is bound to change, I think my interests change every few days… But these are pretty broad in scope, so they’ve happen in one way or another.

  • Keep Sunday as a study day (like Ben Franklin)
  • Read at least 1 book per week
  • Try some woodworking projects
  • Run the memorial mile on 5/28
  • Squat 500 lbs without a belt, Deadlift 500, Bench 400
  • Monitor my asthma daily, try to find triggers and experiment with alternative cures
  • Brew Kombucha, hard cider, possibly beer
  • Establish a sourdough starter and regularly make bread
  • Bowl 205+

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