Thirty ideas from people under 30: The Environmentalists

They are explorers and activists, artists and educators, farmers and faith leaders – even mayors. And they have trenchant suggestions on how to improve the world.

By

Chris and Kim Corbin, Luke and Sally Gran: Progressive planters

  • close
    Left to right, Colette Hll Vander Plas, Chris Corbin (on tractor), Matt Parker and Sally Gran, harvesting carrots at Table Top Farm in Nevada, Iowa. This was the first year for Corbin and Gran to farm vegetables. Vander Plas is one of their first employees and Parker is a friend of Gran's who was helping them harvest the carrots for the CSA shares that they were delivering that week.
    View Caption

Corn and soybeans have provided very good livings for Iowa farmers in recent years. But the focus on these two cash crops has meant that people living in the center of the nation's bread-basket are now likely dining on vegetables grown in California or Florida, not from a farm on the outskirts of town.

Now four young entrepreneurs at TableTop Farm have set out to change the way Iowans eat. Working on rented land near the central Iowa town of Nevada, rookie farmers Chris and Kim Corbin and Luke and Sally Gran have quickly established their intent to provide families, as well as wholesale and retail buyers, with locally grown organic produce.

TableTop is part of the growing Community Supported Agriculture movement, which itself is gaining ground from the "locavore" trend – people searching for freshly picked, local fruits and vegetables.

With 86 percent of Iowa devoted to farmland, this would seem a good place to further the eat-local movement. So 24-year-old Sally Gran convinced relatives to rent her and her partners the ground they needed. They sold "shares" to area families that guaranteed delivery of more than a dozen vegetables throughout the summer.

Those subscribers provided TableTop with cash to start their crop. The couples also borrowed money and boosted income with sales at farmers' markets. Sally Gran says she may close a deal to provide carrots to a local food supplier.

"Those carrots are really sweet," she says.

The farm will double its acreage next season, and TableTop plans to hire four full-time workers to help deliver the news – and food – to a growing audience.

– Steve Dinnen, Des Moines, Iowa

Next in the series: The Change Agents

3 of 3
What'd we miss? Tell us what angles to cover next.

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Share this story:

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...