Updated: Nov 8
My farming journey likely began as a child living in the city helping my mother tend our large vegetable garden. I didn't know it then, but that experience was a tiny seed planted in my heart slowly pulling me toward tending the land.
As a teenager, I worked in landscaping, as a lifeguard, and at a health food store. All keeping me outside and connected to food on some level.
In college, I gravitated toward Geography, Biology, Environmental Studies, and Geology with the hope that maybe I wouldn't have to work in an office for 100% of my career. I even worked on the grounds crew; raking, shoveling snow, and tending to campus plantings.
In my senior year, my friend gave me the book Coming Home to Eat by Gary Paul Nabhan. This book introduced me to eating locally and community-supported agriculture. I was hooked! I immediately began looking for farms to work on right after I graduated (also to avoid the office) and worked on my first farm just outside of Boulder Colorado in the summer of 2003.
After a season working in Colorado, I moved to California and worked for farms at their farmers' market stands and worked on a geology project for the natural history museum.
That summer the farmer I worked for in Colorado emailed me that summer and asked if I could come back to the farm because someone had left and she needed help. I was torn, I felt a true calling and desire to be back on the farm. I told her I couldn't this summer but would be there next year. In 2005 I moved back to Colorado and helped my friend start her own farm for the next 3 seasons.
Alex and I reconnected after knowing each other in college and began dating in 2006. He got to be around the farm but didn't work on the farm and that experience rekindled his love of animals he learned from growing up with a father for a veterinarian.
In 2008 we moved to Vermont where I worked on a farm that used draft power to grow wheat to mill and bake bread and I started a small vegetable subscription that summer. Alex and I were married that year in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.
In 2009 we moved back to Colorado where I worked on the same farm again and grew vegetables and started growing flowers.
We purchased a small herd of cattle and began rotationally grazing them on rented land, Robinette Farms was born!
That summer we became pregnant and felt drawn to be closer to family in the Midwest.
We picked up once again, 6 months pregnant, 10 cattle in an open trailer during a snowstorm, and made our way back to Lincoln, Nebraska to live with my parents.
Our first year farming in Nebraska in 2010 was hectic but we persevered with a newborn, rented land, and the physical, emotional, and housing support of my parents. We made a name for ourselves in the Lincoln community and have been growing ever since then.
That fall, we stumbled upon the current home of Robinette in Martell, just southwest of Lincoln.
We were able to lease and then purchase the property in 2013 thanks to amazingly supportive landowners and a Farm Service Agency loan.
That same year, we had twins, Alex invested time in learning how to use draft power, and we ran a Kickstarter campaign to purchase a draft horse team, and several pieces of draft-powered farm equipment.
On January 7, 2014, our lives changed forever. Alex was in a car crash that left him temporarily paralyzed and at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital for 2 months. We downsized but continued to farm with immense support from our family and community.
Immediately after the car crash, we sold all the animals we could, abandoned our dream of using draft power, and took the farm and our lives to a base operating level.
With a fantastic crew that year, we were able to continue our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and sell at the Farmers' Market.
By 2019, Robinette expanded to 10 acres of vegetables, an almost year-round CSA, 2 farmers' markets, a thriving microgreens operation, and a handful of high tunnels for growing greens year-round. At the end of that season, as we assessed our quality of life and the ages of our kids, we decided to scale down our operation and stop selling at the Farmers' Markets.
In 2020 as the world shut down, we felt lucky to have made the business shifts we did and began collaborating with farmer friends of ours to help them sell produce that they no longer had an outlet for with all the restaurants and markets closed due to the pandemic.
That spring we purchased an additional ranch property in Pawnee County (southeast Nebraska) where we manage grasslands and woodlands through grazing with cattle. This is an exciting new venture for us in addition to Robinette Farms.
Like many businesses, the COVID pandemic changed how we operate and how we connect with our customers. Our farm looks different now as we have pivoted since 2020. We saw a need for collaboration and streamlined communication from the farming world directly to our eating consumers. This is how the Local Food Subscription was formed.
Robinette Farms now grows certified organic micro greens, baby greens, and garlic year-round, and we also have a small herd of cattle that we grass finish for meat on our pasture ground.
Our Local Food Subscription grew out of our many years of working for and running our own Community Supported Agriculture programs.
We partner with other local farmers and local small businesses to provide our Members with a "local food grocery store", all sourced directly from their community and their region of this country.
Our goal is to connect eaters with the folks who grow and create the food they eat, to educate our community on how to prepare, store, and eat with the seasons, and to bring us all together around the land and the food it provides us.
Join us to see where we are headed next!