A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of doing a short interview with Marek at the Lowell Farmer’s Market. A 2008 New Entry Program graduate, Marek has a small production on a quarter acre of land, fondly known as Cornflower Farm and dreams of doing much, much more.
Marek came here from Poland in 1987 from the “Spawning Place,” also known as Torlow. Growing up on a farm, he had fond memories of having horses, cows, chickens and geese, all in his backyard. His family predominantly grew grains such as wheat, rye, barley, buckwheat, along with other vegetables. The story is familiar–Marek left the farm as a young man and went to school to become a seaman. He worked as a skipper for five years in the Baltic Sea, and traveled around the world during his service in the Polish Army. He never stopped thinking about his farm days.
Flash forward almost 20 years. While a market manager at the Maynard Farmer’s Market, Marek met Jennifer Hashley and learned about the New Entry Sustainable Farming Program. Marek had been growing vegetables from a small piece of land borrowed from a friend, but he had visions of doing more. After graduating the program in early 2008, he is now working on the initial 1/4 acre that all graduates start off with. He currently grows blueberries, tomatoes, sunflowers, and hopes to include duck eggs into the mix. With the half acre he’ll get to use in the second year, he wants to expand production to include winter rye, herbs, and Asian vegetables.
His understanding that growing and raising food relies on a mini ecosystem fuels his desire to create one of his own that he can share with others in the community. Like many of us involved with New Entry, he wants to connect people with their food and with nature. His kids, Patrick, Nicky, and Rachel will come with him to the market occasionally and help set up, sell, and interact with customers. One of his plans includes growing to harvest seeds to donate to farmers with limited means. Marek is always thinking ahead, dreaming, and using his creativity to build beautiful displays and reach out to the people around him.