Rebecca Graff & Tom Ruggieri
Fair Share Farm
Midwest Region | Kearney, MO
Main Product: Vegetables
Scale: 10 acres under management
Carbon farming, vegetable ferments, Master Line earthworks.
Other Resilience Stories About This Farm
Rebecca Graff and Tom Ruggieri own and operate Fair Share Farm, a diversified vegetable farm located in rural Clay County, Missouri. Together they manage about ten acres of annual and perennial vegetables and fruits, culinary herbs and a large flock of laying hens to feed people in the Kansas City metro area. They market fresh vegetables, fruits and eggs from their farm through a CSA and produce vegetable ferments for direct wholesale and farmers market sales. They also coordinate with other producers in their area to offer meat, cheese and bread options to their CSA members. This farm-based food hub/food circle model allows them to provide a more diverse group of products to their CSA while also cultivating a diverse network of local food production capacity.
Rebecca and Tom met back in 2001, just a year after each had left unsatisfying jobs to look for a better way to support healthy community by working in sustainable agriculture. Their paths crossed at Peacework Farm, an organic vegetable farm in western New York where Rebecca was working as a first-year apprentice. “Tom came out to one of the first member workdays,” Rebecca recalls. “It was mid-May and I had been there just about a month. I admired his leek-trimming skills as we were preparing vegetables for market. We went on our first date a week later. We apprenticed together the following year and we’ve been farming together ever since.”
After another year working as apprentices at the Micheala Farm in southeast Indiana, Rebecca and Tom headed back to Missouri to begin farming on land that has been in Rebecca’s family for four generations. The Graff family farm, like most farms in the area, produced corn, soybeans and cattle using conventional commodity production practices. “I grew up on a farm,” says Rebecca, “but I did not learn how to grow crops of any kind, so it was all new to me when I started my first apprenticeship.” Using holistic farm planning and biological farming practices, Rebecca and Tom worked over the years to create a farm sustained by healthy soils and healthy community.
Want to read more? You can find the full version of this story in the Second Edition of Resilient Agriculture, available for purchase here.