Innovative Farm Looking for Kick-start

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Pioneering Farmers Move West to Plant Seeds Of Change In Agriculture: PS Farms in Northern California is plotting to change the world, one sustainable step at a time.

A small, self-sufficient, organic farm has a big vision to share. PS Farms in Northern California is plotting to change the world, one sustainable step at a time.

Husband and wife team, Jonathan Passow and Anna Sommers, are looking to kick-start their new off-grid, 10-acre farm into a micro-local example of how small farms can change the world. Blending age-old practices, like using mud to build cob housing, with modern technology, like tapping solar for power, PS Farms is pioneering a contemporary approach to sustainable living and farming. Now, they’re inviting others to support that mission with a GoFundMe campaign that launches June, 20th 2016 and raises $125,000.

“We’ve been working toward this moment our whole lives, and PS Farms is our final frontier,” says Passow, referring to the veteran farmers’ goal of not only feeding their new local community, but also serving as an education hub. “The farm is about sharing a larger vision with like-minded folks, and a GoFundMe campaign is a natural way to involve supporters in this movement from the very beginning.”

What makes PS Farms special?
In an age of big agriculture – even in the organics industry – where farming and shipping practices rely heavily on fossil fuels and are often at odds with sustainability, PS Farms will prove that a community can be served by small farms that are completely off the grid. Using solar power, water from a year-round spring and catchment systems, creating natural fertilizers, making their own herbicides and pesticides from farm grown herbs, constructing buildings from the earth, including composting toilets, Passow and Sommers will prove that small sustainable farms embedded in communities can be a successful business and lifestyle model, that also empowers other people through healthy choices and education.

PS Farms as fertile learning ground.
PS Farms intends to serve as an education center on sustainable farming practices. From a program that brings local school children out to learn the basics of where their food comes from, to teaching innovative low-impact farming and sustainable living techniques through an internship program at the local college, PS Farms will share their combined skills and knowledge with all who are interested.

Who are P & S?
Passow and Sommers are not new to the game of farming. This young “dream team” already has decades of combined experience and education in sustainable farming, subsistence living, product development and more.

Passow: The Innovative Farmer
For Jonathan, it goes back to 2nd grade. Starting with a love of sprouting plants without soil, it continued into carnivorous plant breading, and by 2003 Passow started his first organic garden plot in Los Angeles. Not long after he expanded to a bio intensive, medium-sized urban farm and mastered the arts of canning, dehydration, and pepper product manufacturing, even launching his own blend of pepper powders named “Passow’s Spicy Blend.” By 2005, Jon was managing a crop of over 200 organic pepper plants with 27 different varieties, including his own stable variety of hot pepper known as The Passow Piqrano (a cross between the Fire Serrano and Piquin Pepper). His garden included companion plants like beneficial insect attractors and trap plants, bringing together his knowledge and skills for creating a dynamic ecosystem that nurtures healthy crops.

Sommers: The Realistic Visionary
Anna Sommers’ has had her nose in the books and hands in the dirt for more than a decade to help her move toward this goal. She started her agricultural education on an organic herb farm in Peninsula, Ohio handling livestock and weed management. After five years, she was managing the entire commercial herb operation, including: starting, transplanting, pest and weed control, soil management, value added products production, and sales. Anna decided to back up her hands-on skills with a BS in Environmental Science focused on sustainable agriculture. Fittingly, her senior thesis was entitled “Subsistence Farming in Northeast Ohio: A Start-Up Guide.” She also pursued a certificate in Sustainable Living Skills from Aprovecho Sustainability Education Center, located in Cottage Grove, OR. Aprovecho offers an intensive training program in organic gardening, appropriate technology, and sustainable forestry. All of Anna’s experience and education has helped her to cultivate a accurate view of daily life on an operational farm, and what can realistically be accomplished.

PS: The Dream Team
The two brought their passion and skills together back in Cleveland, Ohio where they had a small plot in the city’s oldest organic community garden. They sold 4 varieties of hot peppers, greens and jam to their local community, and together published an organic farming primer, teaching novice gardeners how to grow their own food. The guide is now for sale and required reading for new gardeners at Kentucky Gardens in Cleveland, Ohio.

But Cleveland was not their promised land. They felt the tug and followed that pioneering spirit to California. “Our move west was not simply to attain better jobs, or start our lives over,” says Sommers. “We moved in order to find a piece of land, and bring our dream farm to life.”

PS Farms is starting as a basic kitchen garden, with plans to expand over the next few years to include brambles, fruit and nut trees, livestock, and grain. Their first focus will be raising the rare chicken breed, French Copper Marans, to help them capture a niche market for eggs. Next, they’ll add hot pepper production, including selling Jon’s proprietary strain to seed distributors. Once the trees bear fruit, the team will sell unique jams and jellies at the local farmers market, along with excess fruit and vegetables.

To contribute or find out more about PS Farms’ GoFundMe campaign click here. For more information on PS Farms visit their Facebook page, email psfarmsca(at)gmail(dot)com or call (216)644-8669. PS Farms is located in Willits, CA

Media Contact:
Jonathan Passow
Photos Available Upon Request

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Jon Passow
PS Farms
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PS Farms
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