Jesse McDougall

Studio Hill | Shaftsbury, VT

1. What got you into farming?

I fell in love with a girl who had a farm.

2. How did you get into regenerative agriculture?

Cally’s aunt, who had managed the farm conventionally for 40 years, died suddenly of cancer. It terrified us so much that we immediately stopped spraying any and all chemicals on the land.

3. How do you see agrotourism supporting farmers?

Before we got into the farm stay business we had 3 off-farm jobs to compensate for the losses from farming. In an effort to pay off some loans, we put a farm cottage on Airbnb. It was instantly popular. We were able to pay off the loans in the first year!

4. What inspired you to become a Savory Hub?

One night as I bounced my son on my knee trying to get him to fall sleep. I was sleep-deprived, but still was able to make the connection between the desertification and biodiversity loss in the grasslands of Zimbabwe that Allan was talking about and what was happening on our farm in Vermont.

5. What is your PSA?

People must get onto regenerative farmland and fall in love. You aren’t going to find the inspiration you need in the grocery store.

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