Skarsgard Farms – Seeded in 1912
So allow me to share a little bit of my family’s history with you. And no I will not talk you through a slide show of our trip to the Grand Canyon in 1989. Or tell you about the time my brother backed my dad’s car into a basketball pole. This is about the farm. The family farm.
You see, Fall 2011 marked a huge milestone for my family in the fields.
The end of that growing season concluded my family’s 100th season
here in the United States. My great-granddad, Tollef Skarsgard, immigrated
from Norway in 1906. After jumping off the boat, Tollef learned English
and got an education. The third thing he did, start a farm in Makoti,
That was in the spring of 1912. Since then, four generations of Skarsgards have kept the farm in production and the fields green for over 100 seasons. Reflecting back, I feel humble knowing how much hard work went into making this farm persevere over the decades.
But at the same time it is very empowering. To know that a town can sprout up in the middle of an unforgiving land, sustained by family farms, amazes me. It is reassuring to know that sweat along with soil can keep a family and a town going for 100 years. This is the story of a young farmer’s dream. The American Dream. And fortunately for me, my family’s dream. But the story does not end.
This is the great part. For me, the story is just beginning in many ways. Although I have been farming since 2000, this season has been the most formative one for me yet. Starting a new farm (or any business I imagine), there is only one question you have to answer when you wake up in the morning, “Can I keep this baby going?” I think it honestly consumes the early stages of any business.
With all of your support over the years, we have been able to move past that stage of constant wondering to a more exploratory stage. Moving past the question of “will this business/farm make it?” to asking the question “how do we make this farm an anchor for the community?” How can we foster and learn from the sage ways of our agrarian past, while still living in this urban environment?
The farm life and city life are not as mutually exclusive as most people think. The cityscape does not need to be devoid of nature just because it is a city. The natural world is as much a philosophy as it is a physical place. Nature is inside all of us. Right next to the enchiladas.
So I celebrate (and am thankful for) my family’s 100 years of work in the fields. I think that old saying that “we stand on the shoulders of giants” has never rung more true for me than it does right now. With that, I feel that we cannot strive towards a bountiful future, without honoring the work of farmers in the past. And this story serves as a reminder that, for me, the passion for the local food movement is not a newfangled thing, but truly was “Seeded in 1912.”
Thanks for your support, Farmer Monte Skarsgard