Q&A with Jessika Brandt-Feldenkirchen, Cresset Farm

Fort Collins, CO 

April 2014

Tell us what you love about Cresset Farm, and what stands out to visitors first arriving on the property? 

We are a small working family farm following biodynamic farming practices. The first thing you see when you enter Cresset Farm is our red barn. It transformed from being a breeding barn for horses to the “Kids Barn”, our education center. Surrounded by the "Kids Farm Yard" as well as the "Children’s Garden” this is the go to place for kids.We are a working biodynamic family farm on 115 acres and are very blessed to be care takers of this land. The first thing our visitors hear are our heritage turkeys Theo and Tilda. They greet everyone with a friendly gobble gobble and watch out out for strangers. They even sleep on our porch. 

 

Were there any "watershed moments" that influenced your career path and led you to where you are today? 

I grew up in rural Germany and spent most of my childhood outside in nature, on farms, in the forest or just roaming through fields and meadows. Moving to Chicagoland was quite a shock for me and I realized that I don’t want to raise my kids in the suburbs but out in the country. My husband and I changed our lives from corporate to farming about 5 years ago. We started as apprentices on a biodynamic farm and took on the business and legacy of our senior farmers after their retirement. We raise three children that are the greatest inspiration for our chosen path. 

 

What is your educational philosophy?

My mission is “No kid left inside”. I try to reach out to as many kids as possible and connect them back with nature and farm life. When they come out to the farm they actually are all thrilled to get dirty and do hands-on work.

 

What do you like best about your job?

Working with my husband on our dream to create a farm for our community to enjoy and have as a local resource.  Being outside, connecting children with nature, animals, and farming.

 

If there is one thing you could change about our our food system, what would it be? 

I am a strong opponent of mass production. From feed lots to huge mono cultured fields we all know-this is not how it should be. I wish small farms, growers and producers would get more support. There is a shift happening already in our community and we are excited to be part of it!  We would like to grow more local farmers - and are still accepting volunteers, interns and apprentices.

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Shelburne Farms is the coordinating organization for the Farm-Based Education Network 

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