the greenhorn: one leaf farm
Rand of One Leaf has only been farming for four years, starting at the age of 23. Until recently she was leasing the 5 acres in the Snoqualmie Valley where she grows a variety of vegetables to sell at local farmers markets. Now farming in Snohomish with fellow female farmer and business partner, Alice.
Like many other young and new farmers, land ownership is a financial barrier of entry that could potentially have Rand hanging up her tractor keys and changing careers. This was photographed at her farm in the Snoqualmie Valley in the late summer of 2014.
Update March 31, 2016: Originally published in Modern Farmer Magazine
Although Rand Rasheed comes by her green thumb naturally – her dad grew wheat and legumes in Iraq before immigrating to the United States in the late ’90s – the first-generation American obviously didn’t stand to inherit land. “I wasn’t taking over an old family business or leaving a lucrative job for agriculture,” says Rasheed, a mere 23 years old when she started farming.
Now 29, she hopped from one rented plot to another before leasing these eight acres last spring. By season’s end, Rasheed and her business partner, Alice VanderHaak, had reaped kale, Walla Walla sweet onions, carrots, cauliflower, and more, selling the vegetables in Seattle at farmers markets, to restaurants, and through a CSA with four pick-up sites. “Farmland near a metropolitan city is not affordable, so owning remains a faraway dream,” Rasheed admits, but points to one major perk of her current lease. The tract sits next to two others, allowing One Leaf Farm to share equipment and infrastructure with its agricultural neighbors. “We operate separately, but the proximity allows us to do favors for each other.”