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Farm Academy Alumni Profiles

Jason Cuff

Graduate of 2013 Farm Academy Class
Owner, Hearty Fork Farms

Having grown up on a large farm in Oregon, Jason Cuff thought there was no point trying to farm anything less than 1,000 acres.

"I thought small farms were not possible, that they couldn't exist because they couldn't make money,"

So he made a career as a special education teacher. But after moving to California Cuff noticed that some were actually making a living from their small farms, and that started the wheels turning. He heard about the farm academy and joined the 2013 program.

"Everything changed as soon as I got in the farm academy," he says enthusiastically. Within a couple of weeks he was visiting farms and meeting small farmers.

"They were successful, they were happy, and they loved what they were doing. They introduced me to a whole world of small farming that I didn't know existed. The whole experience totally changed my life."

The academy taught Cuff how to make connections with other farmers and built his confidence. He jumped in with both feet, working a small plot of land, immersing himself in the business of specialty farming. Before the program was over Cuff had quit his job and was a full-time farmer. With the support of the academy's incubator program, Cuff started Hearty Fork Farm in Winters with fellow graduate Glen Baldwin.

The farm currently sells at local farmers markets and contributes to others' CSAs. Cuff says they plan to expand production to eight acres next year.

[Excerpted from Small farmers discover the hands-on secret to success at farm academy by Kristi Garrett,
Little Green Wheelbarrow Blog]

Jason Cuff of Hearty Fork Farm at the farmer's market
Jason Cuff of Hearty Fork Farm with Maureen Thompson of California Farm Academy
Jason Cuff owner of Hearty Fork Farm