Know Your Farmer
Kaly and Brian both hail from Montana where they spent most their childhoods in Kalispell and Helena. Living parallel lives, influenced by the family vegetable patch and Montana’s rivers and mountains, they cultivated strong relationships with the soil and land which to this day influence their current ecological approach to farming. Despite these similar experiences and shared ethic, it wasn’t until 2005 that they met, shortly after Kaly returned from South America where she was volunteering on an organic farm in Chile. They spent that fall in Arizona growing chili peppers which inspired them to cultivate similar varieties in Montana. Returning to Montana they both studied agroecoloy at MSU where Kaly created and co-managed, with Brian’s help, MSU’s Towne’s Harvest Garden, a two acre diversified organic vegetable and CSA farm.
In 2009, after completing their studies and working on various farms in the Bitterroot Valley including Bio Design Farm and Homestead Organics, Kaly and Brian began farming on their own applying the conservation tillage and low-impact farming practices they had learned along the way. In addition to standard crops, they planted various peppers in search of the most colorful, sweetest and the hottest Montana could grow.
Today, they are farming in the Jocko Valley at Common Ground Farm near Arlee, MT. They're still planting peppers, but also providing communities in Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls Helena, and the Flathead with a diverse spectrum of produce sold wholesale through the Western Montana Grower’s Cooperative and directly to customers at the Clark Fork Farmers’ Markets.
They are grateful to be farming in their native state, where they are continually supported by family and friends, who help with everything from harvesting to fence mending to collecting wax boxes for produce storage. It is with the help of their personal community that they are able to continue farming.
When they are not farming, Kaly and Brian hike a peak, fish a stream, or float a river. In the off season they spend a good amount of time enjoying slow mornings, as well as skiing and catching up with friends that they don’t see during the growing season.
Farming never stops as they are constantly thinking and planning for the next season. Brian can often be found honing his skills in farm equipment repair while Kaly attends to the farm accounting and serves on the Western Grower’s Cooperative Board of Directors.
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