Small Farm, Big Benefits: Old Road Farm in Granville
For several years, vegetable farmers Gabby Tuite and Henry Webb leased a single rocky, hilly acre in Monkton. They made it work but knew they would need more land.
“We knew we wanted to do something bigger so that the farm could one day support both of us financially,” said Gabby.
In the meantime, they built their business, Old Road Farm, and gathered customers. They figured out what they were good at growing—organic salad greens and seasonal vegetables—and began looking for land.
The couple soon learned that land prices were prohibitively high. But they’d heard about VLT’s program to help new farmers onto land. So they signed up with the Farmland Access Program and applied when VLT sought business proposals on a property that seemed suitable.
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While Gabby and Henry didn’t get that farm, they began a conversation with VLT’s farmland access staff. “We saw that they were serious and skilled and passionate,” said VLT’s Britt Haselton. “We encouraged them to reach out if they found other land to farm.”
“That really opened up our search,” said Gabby. “We found a property [in Granville] and brought it to VLT.”
VLT worked with the farm’s sellers, who began leasing the land to Gabby and Henry while the conservation and sale were finalized. Nestled between Route 100 and the Green Mountains, every inch of the 24 acres is prime farmland.
Since moving to Granville, Gabby and Henry have expanded and hired three employees. They’re thrilled to be able to invest in its future.
“Having the land is huge,” said Henry. “For me, it all comes back to having this place that we can improve—not only in terms of physical infrastructure for high tunnels and irrigation, but through a long-term commitment to the land itself. We’re starting to work in more cover crop rotations and building that climate resiliency into the soil.”
“VLT took a chance on a smaller farm,” he added, “and recognized its value for our business model even if wasn’t 200 acres. Allowing for that kind of flexibility and recognizing that there’s different kinds of profitable ag and ways to farm that are going to keep ag a viable part of the state’s economy is a good thing.”
article by Rachel Mullis