From Sierra Leone to Minnesota
By Cathy Nguyen, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
When Ore Taylor isn’t pulling an all-nighter to prepare for an 8 a.m. meeting with her colleagues in Europe, you can find her tending to her peppers and potatoes at Big River Farms. Even though Ore’s full-time job has been in engineering for the past 20 years, she always had her hands in dirt either in community gardens, her backyard or her mother’s farm in West Africa.
Ore felt inspired by her mother’s farm in Sierra Leone and had always been curious about nutrient density in crops. Her mother had the big vision, but Ore wanted to learn the day-to-day practicalities of farming. She realized, “If I’m ever going to take over (my mother’s) farm, I need to know what I’m doing.” So, she applied to Big River Farms’ Grower Training program and launched Taylor Ventures.
“Every season you learn, you deepen your knowledge of the different things (the program) introduces you to,” says Ore. She started with a quarter acre and moved to an acre. The program taught her about food washing and preservation, post-harvest handling, pack shed utilization and all the different markets. “Farming is challenging to begin with, but I think (Big River Farms has) done their best to reduce the barriers.
“(Farming’s) not actually very different from engineering. There’s a lot of planning. When [do] you plant? What’s your yield? There’s a lot of math and accounting involved. I definitely respect farmers more and more as I do this.”
Ore is passionate about soil health and growing nutrient-dense food. “We should be able to get (nutrients) in our food, and if it’s not in the food, then the question is why? That led me to, well, it’s not in our food because it’s not in the soil. I’m trying to grow crops that are nutrient-dense, that have the whole spectrum of minerals and vitamins they’re supposed to.”
Coming up on her third season, Ore wants to inspire others to learn how to be self-sufficient, take care of their bodies and reconnect with the earth. “It’s healing. I think it really helps to humanize us being out on the farm and in the field,” says Ore.
Being a part of Big River Farms has grown Ore’s admiration for farmers and her personal connections to her community. “It’s a beautiful relationship to be able to support a farmer and know where your food is coming from.”
You can support Taylor Ventures by buying directly from Ore at Kingfield Farmers Market, joining her upcoming CSA or volunteering at Big River Farms! “There’s never a shortage of work to do on the farm. (Community members are) very welcome to come (to the farm) and assist me anytime. Send me an email, and let’s come up with a time that works.”
If you have suggestions for Ore’s new CSA program or would like to arrange a time to help her with farm chores, please email her at [email protected].
Originally published 2/8/24