To celebrate Small Business Saturday, we’ll be introducing you to several small businesses and the women who make them run.
Seattle Urban Farm Co.
Meet the women of Seattle Urban Farm Company. Their knowledgeable team can plan, build, and maintain the urban farm you always wanted but never thought you could personally manage—perfect for those of us who may not have a green thumb, but love the idea of homegrown tomatoes.
Hilary Dahl is co-owner and host of the Encyclopedia Botanica podcast. The podcasts are quick lessons in farming. Follow @seattleurbanfarmco to check out her tips and advice. The all female maintenance team includes Sarah Bolton and Emily Barry. Together, they care for over 60 urban vegetable gardens across the city. Daily tasks include planting the crops, keeping an eye on the soil, fertility, irrigation, pest management, pruning, weeding, and harvesting.
“Engaging with local businesses often takes more effort from the consumer, but I think it’s worth it. Buying local provides an opportunity for genuine human interaction, better quality products, and more interesting stories. The success of a small business often depends on word-of-mouth. Anytime you vouch for a local company, you are doing somebody a huge favor and I thank you on behalf of small business owners everywhere. Just get out there and rep the businesses you love.” -Hilary Dahl
Kubich Lumber Yard
Meet Bobbie Rowe. She’s been a nurse for two years, but she’s always played a big role at her family’s lumber mill. Her main gig is driving the water truck, and when it gets busy, it’s all hands on deck. Then you can find her throwing strips or controlling the multi-head resaw she built with her dad as a child.
The mill has been in operation for over 70 years. It sits deep in the woods of Grass Valley, a small Californian town that was the epicenter of the Gold Rush in the 1800s. With a population of just under 13,000, the city is closely knit together by a strong sense of community and tradition.
If you’re in the area and in need of some fresh milled timber, give Bobbie a call. They have a wide variety of products, ranging from sugar pine flooring to cedar siding. You can also visit their website: www.kubichlumber.com.
“People are especially shocked to find out I’m a nurse when I jump out of the water truck. I remember dad laughing really hard one day after I drove the truck when I first became a nurse. He told me a couple customers had just commented on how cool it was that he hired a woman truck driver and he replied ‘That’s actually my daughter, and can you believe she is giving up truck driving to be a nurse at Stanford? She must be crazy.’ The truth is I really would be crazy to completely walk away from the mill.” -Bobbie Rowe
Glass Artist Ona Magaro
One Magaro has been working with glass for 30 years. The shear heat and intensity of the craft most attracted her during summer camp. Years down the road, she earned her BFA from Alfred University and MFA from Bowling Green. Blowing glass requires immense physical strength, particularly when fabricating on the scale of some of Ona’s larger pieces. However, Ona considers her willingness and eagerness to evolve her approach to her work her greatest capability.
Though Thanksgiving has come and gone, hopefully the spirit of gratitude remains. Ona met her mentor in school, but he continues making an impact in her life to this day.
“My sculpture professor in undergrad at Alfred University, Glenn Zwygert, showed me that I needed to be fully committed and devoted to my passion. Glenn and I use to butt heads on a lot of topics, but through the years I realized that those interactions made me open up to being able to SEE. He is still mentoring me everyday, by his own pursuits and ambition to constantly be creating.” –@onamagaro
To see more of Ona’s work, visit her website: www.onamagaro.com.
Amaltheia Dairy Farm
Amaltheia Dairy Farm in Montana is a family run operation. Sue and Melvyn Brown broke ground on their very own Grade A goat farm Thanksgiving Day in 2000. After building their own cheese facility, they developed exceptional products with the highest standards for purity and flavor. Amaltheia offers 17 different products and the Browns are able to produce 2,000 pounds of goat cheese a week.
Sue and Melvyn’s children are a big part of the business as well. Their son Nate and his girlfriend Karen play a big role in caring for the vegetables and animals along with property maintenance. Their daughter Sarah oversees operations at the cheese plant, though you can often find her fixing fences and feeding animals.
“To be raised in a barn is the most fulfilling childhood I could possibly imagine. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work; but you develop a close-knit relationship with animals and nature. And my parents’ ideals of organic, home grown food for their children has definitely been instilled in my brother and myself. We are blessed to be able to continue to develop and hone-in our farming and cheese making skills into the future. My brother and I hope to take the reigns and continue to provide our community with farm-fresh, organic products.” -Sarah Brown of @amaltheiadairy
You can order a fresh batch of Amaltheia cheese for yourself at www.amaltheiadairy.com.
Ceramic Artist Alayna Wiley
Alayna Wiley is a ceramicist, an art educator, and a craft curator. She teaches at The Art Shack in Brooklyn. This women-owned non-profit ceramic studio offers classes to both offer classes to children and adults. If you’re interested in learning more about hand building, wheel throwing, glazing, plaster mold making or slipcasting—head on over to @artshackbrooklyn for more info.
When Alayna’s not working at The Art Shack, she’s a studio assistant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her education is impressive and extensive. She’s studied at Oberlin College, Germantown Academy, Penland School of Crafts, and Harvard University to name only a few. Follow her instagram, @alaynawiley.nyc to take a closer look at her work.