There’s a new farm in town, and they need our help. Local husband and wife duo, Ben and Jade Chessman have been farming for about four years and have a vision to help bring quality seasonal vegetables and locally raised meats to Denton tables. In order to do so, the pair has enlisted the help of public-benefit fund base, Kickstarter to continue their mission.
Food is an extremely influential part of all of our lives. The Chessman’s care about the land itself; they care about the local community as well as the global one. The pair are aware of the decisions they are making and how that will affect the future generations to come. They choose to not use chemicals on their crops, but instead use crop rotation, hover crops, and plenty of hard, manual work.
In order to sustain a large enough farm that contains enough food to support the couple financially, they need to invest in certain farming products and tools that are currently beyond their reach. Like any Kickstarter, though, most donations you make qualify for a unique reward. Plenty of thoughtful items are up for grabs, including screen printed shirts and totes, a basket of fresh Spring veggies, and even getting to name your own baby farm animal! Who doesn’t want a little goat named after them? I know I do!
This investment, however, is not only beneficial for this couple you might not know who are doing their own thing on their own farm. This investment will help feed local families. It will help cut out the middleman in buying your food. You’ll have the opportunity to get to know your local farmer, the person responsible for the food you’re providing your family with.
“We aren’t the first farm in the area doing this,” Ben says, “and we may not be doing it the best, but we are certainly not alone. Denton is filled with people that we love and who we know love us back, we have had such tremendous support from the community here.”
With roughly 2% of families in the United States farming, it's pretty to nice to get the opportunity know who is growing your produce personally, right?
Ben and Jade both grew up in small towns in East Texas, separately. The couple met later in Denton and have been married for nearly 6 years. Ben’s family kept a garden when he was younger, something that played a part in his now full-fledged farm lifestyle.
“Something that drew us to one another,” Jade shares, “was the unavoidable fact that we knew neither of us would end up doing something typical with our lives, that we wanted to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
The couple briefly moved to Pennsylvania in 2011 to complete a farming internship where they learned a lot about land, different climates, and how to raise animals. After their internship they moved back to Denton where they rented some land and began farming. Last year the couple bought a farmhouse that was built in 1909 along with a couple acres of land, and dubbed in Jubilee Farm.
“We have spent the last year planning how best to use our new space, studying the use of draft animal power for vegetable farming and broadening our experience in raising small livestock,” Jade shares.
The Chessman’s hope to invest in plenty of livestock, additional land, and some general barn repairs with their kickstarter funds. They’ve secured an additional 14 acres of land for beef cattle, while they’ll have hogs and lambs onsite.
“I might slaughter something for the family onsite,” Ben says, “but we’ll be using offsite meat processing for anything commercial.” Luckily, offsite is really only a few miles down the road.
Farming takes a lot of creativity and planning. It is so much more complicated than jumping on a tractor and driving through fields all day. Further, Farming in Texas is a gamble. In order to make profit you must grow seasonal vegetables year round. The hardest time, obviously, is in the middle of summer, where there is literally scorched earth for the majority of a month, maybe a little longer.
“Farming is so practical and yet also so artistic,” Jade shares.
The Chessman’s are two local, extremely passionate people who are looking to do good in our community. They are interested in more than squeezing the last bit of life out of the land around them, and are more interested in being able to preserve the land and abundance it can bring while also harvesting responsibly.
"I love that it's some of the most physically demanding work I have ever done,” Ben says, “and yet my mind is so engaged while I'm working."
Within the next five years the couple aims to be primarily draft animal powered. “This is appealing to us for some many reasons,” Jade shares, “some of which are the significantly decreased use of fossil fuels and that it's also such an enjoyable way to work.”
“Although we hope to be able to have a profitable farm and make money from produce, meat and eggs, we also know that our land has a limit. We prefer to listen to the land and see what it can give us, rather than coming to it with a list of demands that it can produce for us a certain amount.”
The couple hopes to have a strong CSA to help provide people with seasonal vegetables and pasture raised meats. For now they will be selling their goods at the Denton Community Market, and from a farm stand at their farm. Expect to see goods as soon as Spring Harvest arrives!