Nestled in the Minnesota River Valley, Little Big Sky Farm is a small mixed vegetable family farm. Born from a shared love of food, art, and community, the farm was founded by Jenny and Dan Kapernick. Offering some of the only locally-grown food available in their region, for this pair, establishing a farm wasn’t always in sight. Connecting with small-farm initiatives inspired a new adventure for this couple, and nearly ten years ago they made the decision to start a farm.
“My husband Dan wanted to be a farmer since he worked on an organic farm in high school,” says Jenny. “I came to farming by way of teaching special education, touring in a band, and living in the city. I love food and, over the years, worked at a few restaurants that sourced from local farms. Those experiences opened my eyes to the world of small-scale agriculture, which I found to be incredibly inspiring–enough to convert me to this way of life!”
Finding an agrarian path
Upon finding land in 2013, the pair took a few years to build a house and determine what they wanted to with their agrarian path. Dan maintained consistent carpentry work which helped to fund the purchase of their farm. Now completing their fourth year of production, for Jenny and Dan, shifting their lives to become farmers meant accelerating their learning curve too. “We started when we were in our 30s, once we had two kids in tow,” says Jenny. “We missed common ‘pre-children’ opportunities to volunteer or apprentice on other farms, so once we found the Market Gardener Masterclass, we realized we had the opportunity to learn from an expert farmer and educator that could help us in establishing a farm, which we otherwise haven’t ever had.”
And thankfully, joining the program has proven to be highly worthwhile. “It’s been huge for us!” exclaims Jenny. “We organized our entire space based on the teachings from Jean-Martin and our entire farm model has improved ever since.”
Establishing a farm for the community
With a growing community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, for Jenny and Dan, spreading their harvests throughout homes in the valley region has been extremely rewarding, fostering new friendships and increasing support for their expanding production.
“It brings us great joy to share the food from our farm with our community,” says Jenny. “Our local food coop is incredibly supportive of buying our food and has been since we started growing in 2017. When I see people around town and they tell me they bought our salad mix or how thrilled they were to see the tomatoes in their CSA share, it makes all the work worth it.”
“Farming is fulfilling in so many different ways and allows us to build our life the way we want it. We care a lot about sustainability and being a community pillar that people can depend on for quality fresh food,” says Jenny.
Farmers: Jenny and Dan Kapernick of Little Big Sky Farm
Location: Henderson, Minnesota, United States
Size of Farm: 2.5 acres in cultivation, 8 acres total
Top Crops: Salad Mix, Tomatoes, and Head Lettuce
Sales Channels: CSA (125 members), Wholesale to restaurants and grocery stores
Instagram : @little_big_sky_farm