Chelsea Chandler, 31, and Scott Laeser, 35, are finishing up their fifth season at Plowshares & Prairie Farm near Argyle, Wisc. They met and fell in love just as Chelsea was finishing up grad school at Yale University in environmental policy. Scott had gone to Yale years before in the same program, and was already working at an environmental non-profit in Washington, DC when they met. Chelsea was heading out to a new job in Seattle. They carried on a long distance relationship for a year, then Scott joined Chelsea in the Pacific Northwest, where they became CSA members.
The two decided to complement their slow-going, abstract, environmental policy work with something more tangible and immediate — farming!
They moved to Wisconsin to land owned by Scott’s family, and started their own CSA. Today they cultivate about 2 acres and work to restore their farm’s prairie and wetlands. Land conservation is a long-term interest of Scott’s.
They market their produce via a CSA and the Fitchburg Farmers Market. They recently restored their farm’s barn — they held their wedding there just 4 days before we interviewed — and are looking forward to renting the space for events. They installed solar panels on their barn roof a few years ago through FairShare CSA Coalition’s Solar Harvest Group Buy.
This season their farm has experienced several extreme rain events. Read Chelsea’s blog post about transporting their crops by canoe.
Your family food dollars are Little Green Soldiers for Good. Spend them directly with your local farmers via CSA or at the Madison farmers’ markets. Check out the Wisconsin Farm Fresh Atlas for restaurants featuring local food, farm listings, and farmers’ market info across Wisconsin, or Local Harvest for listings nationwide.
5 Minutes on the Farm won a 2016 Excellence in Journalism award from the Milwaukee Press Club.
Photographs by Julie Garrett. Banjo by Cathryn Herlihey. Logo by Katie Hess.