Katherine Fotiades & Mark Phillips
We have sold our 3000 sq ft greenhouse that has been on leased land for the past seven years and housed our hydroponic production. For many years we have tried to procure the funding to build a hydroponic greenhouse on the two acres of land that we were so blessed to be able to purchase. A kind couple sold us the property because they believed in our vision and they agreed to privately hold the mortgage note for us since we do not qualify for conventional loans.
Because we grow hydroponically we do not qualify for NRCS hoop house program which requires a farmer to grow crops in the ground. The hoop house program is a fantastic program for soil based farmers, but does not provide assistance for farmers like us. We have tried to make the case that we use 90% less water and do not contribute to nitrogen run off into the water ways. We also can produce four times more food per square foot than traditional soil based agriculture. We consider that saving natural resources, but our voice still goes unheard.
Also, most grants do not allow farmers to use the funds for a tangible asset that would belong to the business. This is another reason why we are focusing on educational and experiential programs. Grant money can be used for R&D and the creation of programs to collect data.
So we have decided to shut down our hydroponic production which is what Mark has done for over 30 years! We are pivoting our entire business model to focus on our regenerative food forest project that we are cultivating on our farmstead and to our nature based community programs for all ages.
We will no longer be a vendor at Farm Fresh RI’s Providence Market. We will continue to sell limited soil based herbs and botanicals via farm Fresh RI’s Market Mobile Program.
My dream has always been, “Put me in the woods and let the people come to me”.
So Here We Go!
We are also trialing a Pay What You Can economic business model. Our products and programs are priced at what we feel is the true value of what we offer and what is required to sustain the farmstead. Mark and I solely rely on our community patrons financial contributions. We both work the farm business full time and do not have any other outside revenue flow. We are passionate that two people that are willing to work with daily dedication to genuinely serve the community should not have to go work for someone else. We trust that we can make our lifestyle our career.
Stay tuned for opportunities to volunteer and participate the creation of a food forest right here in RI. We love to collaborate, so if you have a passion that you would like to share and need a venue to offer it to the community, get in touch. We love supporting education, creativity and community connection.
Living on this beautiful rustic two acre farmstead in North Scituate RI, we spend our days and nights acting as stewards to the land and animals, servicing both the local and global community by growing nourishing food and healing medicinal herbs by means of conscious and regenerative farming practices and by inspiring the curiosity of all generations through programs that provide a direct experience with the natural world, ourselves and each other.
We are proud to partner with RI Farm To School Network