Fair Farms visited Even' Star Organic Farm in Lexington Park (St. Mary's County) last week…
February 15, 2019
Fair Farms has been lucky to work with Peter Elmore of Star Bright Farm. Peter is an active member of our Farmer Advisory Council, has hosted us for farm volunteer days,and even recently joined us in Annapolis to testify in support of the Maryland Farms & Families Fund.
Fair Farms is also working with Peter to crowdfund a 0% interest loan on Kiva for exciting farm innovations. The goal is to raise $10,000 for no-till equipment along with equipment that will allow Star Bright to recycle rainwater for irrigation.
We asked Peter to tell us about himself and what leads him to pursue a career in farming.
—To support Star Bright Farm, please visit this page.
When did you decide you wanted to start a farm?
I’ve always wanted to be a farmer. I grew up working for my uncle’s organic vegetable farm all through high school and college. I studied agriculture in college and I moved out west where I worked in local food distribution. It was out there in Oregon that I really decided I wanted to farm at home with my family and be a part of the land I grew up on.
Why did you decide to farm in the way that you do (ie. perennial polyculture)?
There are a lot of reasons that I have chosen this pathway of farming. Some of the primary reasons would be because perennials are low-input crops to grow. They require minimal disturbance landscape and allow me to build insect, microbial, and plant diversity into my production system over a long period of time.
What has been the most challenging part of farming?
As you can imagine, the most difficult thing so far has been dealing with very variable and extreme weather conditions. Another strong difficulty is starting an efficient operation with a low budget, given the high cost of farm implements and infrastructure; the more responsible the piece of equipment, the more it costs generally
What was it like testifying in Annapolis in support of the Maryland Farms & Families Act?
It was really rewarding to testify in support of a bill that supports food access, especially for healthy produce. It’s important that all farmers make political advocacy a high priority given the nature of big business in agriculture.
What is your favorite thing to grow?
Right now, my two favorite crops to grow are Lemon Balm and Tulsi. During the growing season Tulsi plants are just buzzing with pollinator activity all summer. Lemon Balm is just good for so many things.