Mighty Food Farm owner to speak

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BENNINGTON — Lisa MacDougall, the owner of Mighty Food Farm in Shaftsbury, has fulfilled her dream of becoming an organic farmer in Vermont. She will speak about her experience at 1 p.m. on Feb. 23 at the Unitarian Meetinghouse at a public meeting sponsored by the Bennington Branch of the American Association of University Women. There is no charge, and refreshments will be served.

As a young woman farmer in Vermont, MacDougall, 33, has overcome many challenges. Lisa will tell the story of how she started the farm, its opportunities, and its future.

In 2006, MacDougall and a business partner leased five acres in Pownal to start Mighty Food Farm. But Lisa's dream was to own her own land. After six years of searching on her own, she found good, affordable land in Shaftsbury. With the assistance of a Vermont Land Trust grant, she was able to purchase 154 conserved acres.

Mighty Food Farm, certified by the Vermont Organic Farmers, is a CSA, meaning it operates under the community-supported agriculture model. A CSA includes a farmer and a community of supporters (members) who purchase a "share," or portion of the farm's harvest, each year before the growing season. Farmers benefit from this arrangement, for it gives them money to purchase seeds, supplies, and equipment as they prepare for the growing season. MFF members pick and choose from a variety of vegetables that have been harvested that week.

MacDougall does it all: drives the tractor, plants the seeds, manages the books, hires the crew, and much, much more to get fresh produce to local farmers' markets, farm stands, restaurants, and other retail outlets. She holds a bachelors of science degree in plant, soil and insect sciences from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While in school and after graduation, she worked on a variety of organic farms in Amherst, Massachusetts.

The Unitarian Meetinghouse is located at 108 School St., Bennington.

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