Hannah Hamilton and her husband, Jim Buckle, are committed to raising healthy, vibrant soils and food at their farm in Unity, Maine. Almost a decade in business has taught them important lessons about business resilience, healthy relationships, and how to think about failure. In this episode, Hannah shares about The Buckle Farm’s journey toward forming a limited liability company (LLC), and why this formal business structure represents a renewed commitment to the land they love in addition to providing personal asset protection. Farm Commons is grateful to have worked with Hannah as a co-presenter of our Discovering Resilience workshop with MOFGA in 2020 and as a member of the 2022 Farm Commons Fellows leadership program.
For a full transcription of this episode, please click here.
ABOUT THE BUCKLE FARM:
Here’s what Hannah had to say about her experience telling her story of farm resilience:
In sharing your farm resilience story, what are you most grateful for from that experience?
My time as a Farm Commons Fellow allowed me to uncover my farm’s resiliency story in a way my partner and I wouldn’t have been able to on our own. It was so valuable to have dedicated, trustworthy time with peers to process all of the different parts of my farm’s business journey and work to the heart of our farm’s story. It was eye opening to lay it all out and realize how far our farm has actually come in the past eight years.
Did you encounter any challenges in sharing your story? What was that like?
At first it was difficult to think of my story’s full arc. Partly because I tend to compartmentalize my farming struggles into individual stories, and partly because I tent to downplay the value of my experiences in farming. Some aspects of farming were very difficult to share, very emotional. Even as the Fellows group was working together over the course of months, unexpected challenges and heartbreaks were popping up in our lives. Finding the common values, struggles, pain and joy in the stories of my peers helped me embrace my own story and see that it may offer some real meaning and encouragement to another farmer.
What did the storytelling journey illuminate for you? What are you seeing differently as a result of this experience?
It’s easy to always look at the goals that you are aspiring to, and to forget the goals that you’ve already achieved. This journey helped me understand that my partner and I have been thinking about and working towards farm resilience from day one. We’ve improved our understanding of farm resilience, connected to better resources and set higher goals along the way, and this process was extremely affirming.
What is your hope for folks who hear your story?
I hope that folks realize that while many experiences with farming and business are shared, every farm has a unique path to success and resilience. Peer-based resources are a type of skill sharing that connects practical advice and preparedness with the emotional aspects of navigating a farm business. I think it’s important for fellow farmers to have resources that acknowledge and embrace the emotional complexity of farming rather than strip the idea of “farm resilience” down to a technical prescription. We’ve benefitted so much from having mentors and peers to learn from throughout our journey, and it feels good to start passing our farm’s story on.
Check out The Buckle Farm to follow Hannah and Jim’s farm journey.