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First:

Jeremy

Last:

Samson

Co-Applicant / Spouse:

Christina Samson

Email:

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Past and present farming experience:

My expertise is in managing trees, first with date palms in an ornamental capacity, then citrus in small suburban groves, and now apples over the last few years while we have looked for an orchard of our own. Since 2016, I have worked on multiple urban farms, from concept and creation to ongoing operations. I have provided consulting to other urban farmers for improving efficiency and production, and I have taught my methods in permaculture certification courses as a guest instructor.

Both of us have several years experience managing small businesses, and we both have experience in horticulture and hobby farm animal care. Since moving back to Maine, we have spent two summers vegetable gardening and have cared for goats and chickens on our homestead for since the fall of 2020.

My farming experience is a mix of work, volunteering, education, and life experience. I grew up in Hartford, Maine with a large garden, but didn’t really appreciate the benefits until I was older. About 10 years ago I connected with a new community garden program, and since then I have worked to prepare myself for operating a farm. My first step was in 2013 when I became a University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener after a very competitive application process. I served the Orange County chapter for 7 years, maintaining my certification with volunteer hours and continuing education until I moved back to Maine in 2020.

In 2014 I started working for the City of Anaheim, first as a Program Specialist for an urban shade tree program and then as a Maintenance Coordinator at the Anaheim Convention Center, overseeing the care of two landscapes totaling 7 acres and over 400 ornamental trees. As Maintenance Coordinator I was part of the “Green Team” and gained experience with creating and maintaining records for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation.

During that time I also operated a small landscaping business with a focus on edible landscaping, backyard orchards, and small scale agriculture in urban and suburban settings. I performed site assessments, consultation, design, and installation for edible and resource conservation landscapes. This led to partnerships with similar organizations where I maintained gardens and small orchards. I also taught classes on composting, permaculture, and urban farming as a subcontractor, eventually co-founding a nonprofit with the mission of creating neighborhood farms and healing gardens to improve community wellness. We worked with community groups, other nonprofits, and residents to build urban gardens and backyard farms to provide education in gardening, food literacy, organic production practices, market garden management, resource conservation, and food security.

My overlap with the military veteran community gave me access to an internship opportunity through Veteran Farmers of America. I worked on two farms, an aquaponics and a traditional soil farm, to improve their operational systems, performing GAPs assessments, production projections, and cost analysis for capital improvements. I’ve attended seminars on farm management, financing, networking, marketing, and business planning at the 2015 Farmer Veteran Coalition Stakeholders Conference and 2016 San Diego Food Systems Alliance Urban Ag Conference. I was selected to represent Slow Food School Gardens at the Edible Schoolyard Academy, a 1 acre diversified urban farm with classes on farm management, fundraising, and community outreach. In 2018 I was accepted to join the NCAT: Armed to Farm Sustainable Farming Training which provided classes and farm tours covering diversified operations, production systems, GAPs, orchard care, perennial crops, business planning, marketing, and financing.

Shortly after moving back to Maine in March 2020, I worked with my mother to set up a small scale nursery program at her home. We produced approximately two thousand seedlings, which were used in her garden, donated to a local school garden for fundraising, and sold at a roadside stand along with honey from her bee hives. Her five years of beekeeping experience and herbalism knowledge will contribute to our farm business as well.

I worked for about a year at the Veteran’s Cemetery in Augusta as a groundskeeper, learning the seasonal needs of landscape management in this climate. I modernized their policy and procedures, as well as the burial tracking system for the Southern Maine cemetery. I also started a composting program for our green waste to help improve the soil and water retention during dry summer months. I currently work at a landscaping company in Yarmouth as a fine gardener, maintaining a mixture of ornamental, perennial, and edible gardens.

Christina is currently employed in nonprofit finance and plans to continue having off-farm employment for the foreseeable future. Her vision is to manage the financial side of the farm business, including accounting operations, sales, retail, and marketing, and to provide employment for other people to support in these areas. Her strengths include accounting, marketing, retail, and business management. She has experience improving small business accounting systems, creating and maintaining websites and social media accounts, and using data to improve business operations and logistics. She also has experience in food production management as well as retail sales, both brick-and-mortar and online.

Her experience comes through working in a variety of small businesses, including a nonprofit community organization, a flour mill, several bakery-restaurants, and a specialty fermented foods shop. She has experience as a small business owner as well. For three years she ran a baking business producing bread and pastries [made with stone-milled whole grains and local fruit & herbs and sold at farmers markets] and teaching baking classes on making bread and pastry with whole grain flour and natural leavening.

Counties being considered:
  • Androscoggin County
  • Kennebec County
Types of enterprises considered:
  • Apple/Fruit
  • Flowers
  • Goats
  • Herbs
  • Nursery
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Woodlot
Total Acres Desired:

40-100

Tillable Acres:

1-5

Wooded acres:

20-80

Acres in Pasture:

5-10

Acres in Pasture:

5-10

Acres in Orchard/Fruit/Perennials:

2-10

Organic:
  • Doesn't matter
Farm structures needed:
  • Barn(s)
  • Storage
Arrangement(s) considered
  • Standard Sale
  • Owner-Financed Sale
I am interested in farms with Conservation Easements:
  • Yes
Here is a summary of the vision for my farming future and/or business plan:

OUR VISION
- To own and operate a viable agricultural business that provides at least 30% of our household income. This business will include: orchard, livestock, apiary, herbs, and nursery. The orchard will feature heirloom varieties of apples, pears, and stone fruit that preserve both the history and biodiversity of New England. The livestock will contribute meat, dairy, and/or fiber to our local economy. The bees will provide the essential service of pollinating the orchard as well as producing honey. Culinary and medicinal herbs will become value-added products including tinctures, salves, herbal teas, and culinary herb blends. The nursery will produce seedlings for home gardeners and school gardens within our community.
- To provide high quality, responsibly & ethically produced food and other agricultural products to our local community.
- To use regenerative farming practices to improve soil quality, sequester carbon, and create and maintain healthy ecosystems.
- To provide a gathering space for people to be nourished by both good food and a safe space to connect with others.
- To provide educational opportunities including: farmer training for military veterans; community classes on home gardening, food preservation, herbalism, beekeeping; incubator farm space for aspiring farmers; school garden support for local children, parents, and educators.
- To provide employment to others that allows them to live a full and balanced life. To pay a living wage; to offer employment to people with diverse backgrounds and life experience; to create a healthy work environment where people feel valued and where they value the work that they do.
- To collaborate with other local producers to uplift and support one another and strengthen the local agricultural economy.