Ryan Miske

Seeking a small parcel to start up a market garden focused on vegetables and honey to start. Ideally looking to be in the Syracuse area. Seeking a short term lease to begin. Require there to be water and electrical easily accessible on the property.

Preferred counties/regions

  • Hudson Valley
  • Central
  • Finger Lakes
  • Southern Tier

Desired acreage

  • 5 or fewer
  • 6-10

Farming Status

Aspiring farmer: 1 year or less of farming experience

Not currently farming

Primary reason for farming

Farm will generate the majority of my income

Farming status, plans, and practices

I am not currently farming, but it is something I have longed to do for years.

Currently, I am looking for either a very small parcel (1 - 5 acres) of land to purchase or lease land.The farm I would like to establish is a market farm, which would rely upon growing produce specifically for farmers markets and possibly restaurants (as I grow in competence and experience). I would like to grow vegetables such a lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, carrots, and herbs. I would like to package and store on site with a small refrigeration unit on site and then take the produce to a market to sell.

I would like to practice no till (as limited as possible) and regenerative farming. Please see below to see a greater discussion of my thoughts regarding this.

Farm Experience & Education

I am 28 years old. I grew up in LaFayette, New York and I graduated from SUNY Binghamton School of Management in 2017. I attended Boston College Law School from 2018-2020. While in law school, I learned of Curtis Stone, author of The Urban Farmer, who describe his methods of small scale urban farming. I loved that he transformed unused urban spaces into productive lots which provided local food for the community. I wrestled with leaving law school. I felt little desire to practice law, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life. I began to feel a draw to farming after watching Curtis Stone. It brought me joy imagining creating systems to plant, harvest, and sell produce, but fear stifled my decision making. I didn’t want to give up the “opportunity” I had in law school.

I chose to leave law school in spring of 2020, without finishing my degree. During those two year I struggled trying to find meaning and purpose in life, but it slowly emerged for me as I learned about God and finally, Catholicism. In my final year of law school I considered becoming a priest, but was required to wait 2-3 years after joining the Catholic Church before I could go to formation. As I waited, I decided to become a nurse’s aide, as I believed it to be a good means to serve others. In the fall of 2020, I began working at a nursing home in Syracuse. I became a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and then decided to work at Saint Joseph's Hospital in spring of 2021. I worked there until winter of 2022 when, unfortunately, I was terminated for failure to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. I previously had a religious exemption to vaccination granted by the hospital which the State of New York revoked.

As a result of this, I returned to a field which I was familiar with which was interior remodeling (something that my father taught me growing up and something I had some experience with prior to law school). I worked with a family friend. While working in construction, I applied to the Diocese of Syracuse for priesthood.

Since I've returned to Syracuse from law school agriculture, fermentation, soil, and farming have remained on my mind. Thoughts of urban farming slipped away, but from in its place grew to learn more about food. I stumbled into the work of Weston Price and his book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It stunned me. Cultures across the world relying upon their traditional food maintained their health, while those who turned to highly processed foods from the West degenerated and suffered greatly. It saddened me, but gave me great hope. I then discovered Sandor Katz and his book The Art of Fermentation. He demonstrated the wonderful transformation that food undergoes when exposed to the proper conditions which transforms it not only in flavor, but in nutrition. From Sandor Katz, I then discovered David Asher, and his book The Art of Natural Cheese Making. This book blew my mind. I had the great pleasure last year of attending a day long course of cheese making with David Asher at Churchtown Dairy in the Hudson Valley. The farm was beautiful and the course was fantastic. I found the work of Greg Judy. Along the way I discovered Top-Bar Beekeeping by Heather Harrell and Lee Crowder which fascinated me. He proposed keeping bees in a manner that did not call for antibiotics and allowed the bees to build their own comb in the way they were drawn to. I also discovered Neversink Farm, on YouTube, run by Connor Crickmore who demonstrated the financial feasibility of small scale farming and regenerative farming, with limited tilling. A year or more ago I watched a video by Richard Perkins. I was astounded by a video in which he demonstrated the amount of soil he had created from only five years of farming a plot using regenerative methods. I recently began reengaging with his YouTube videos and I've just started reading his book Regenerative Agriculture. I’ve recently read Eliot Coleman’s book The New Organic Grower, the seeming inspiration for many market gardeners. I am also inspired by the work of Charles Dowding demonstrating no-till gardening.

The Diocese of Syracuse decided in March that they wanted me to wait at least until September of 2024 before I began seminary. I felt happy that the door remained open, but sadness to wait. This gave me some time to reflect what was motivating me to apply to seminary. My decision to pursue seminary stemmed from a longing to feel safe. I came to reflect that when I’ve allowed fear to be my arbiter for decision making, it gave short-term comfort at the expense of soon followed suffering. When I’ve chosen to pursue what I love, I’ve found difficulties, but meaning and purpose. My choice to apply to seminary came from fear, not of love. Therefore, I’ve decided to set aside seminary in order to pursue farming.

In the past, I’ve worked as a landscaper (as an employee and starting a small summer business with a friend in college), a resident assistant, a legal clerk, a nurse’s aide, and a remodeling assistant. All of these experiences have been helpful in discovering the various aspects of work that I love and what I believe will be fulfilled in farming.

As you can see, my education in farming, agriculture, and food is not formal, but inspired by a variety of individuals who have demonstrated to me the amazing work that can be done through farming. I know that I want to face my fears of starting a business and a farm. It something I've put off for years and it has always remained in the back of my mind. I do not know where I will ultimately end up, but I know this is what I want to do.

Farming Plans and Practices

Farming method or practice

  • Organic (not certified)
  • Regenerative/Sustainable

Primary crops

  • black outline of a carrot Vegetables

Primary livestock

  • No Livestock

While I do not have bees, I would like to keep them. I am interested in top bar hives.

Marketing Method

I intend to create an Instagram and Facebook account for the business. I intend to attend farmer's markets. I intend to create business cards as well.

Farm business plan or farm resume

I have a business plan

Farmland Needs

Infrastructure required

  • black outline electrical icon Electrical access
  • Black outline of a water drop Water access

Easily accessible water and electric. 

Desired Tenure

Tenure options desired

  • For Lease
  • For Sale
  • Business Partnership

Ideally seeking a short term lease to start. 

Will this operation qualify an eligible landowner for an Agricultural Assessment?

Unsure

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